Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Do I Do When I Don't Know What to Do?

Picture recognize the perfect Signing Smart Opportunity...your baby is happy and're poised to insert a great concept into play time and then *breaks squeal*  *car crash*  your realize you don't know the sign for what you;d like to label!

Now what?

Do you break the continuity of play time to go look up the sign? (No way!) Do you give up on taking advantage of this Signing Smart Opportunity? and just wait for the next one? (You could, but you don't have to!)

Think about it this way...when you're telling someone a story about your day and you can't think of the word you want to use, what do you do?  You probably substitute a different word or describe the object you're talking about.  We actually do that pretty naturally in our native language.

Here's an example:  Mr. I. is 3. On a recent trip to a local zoo, he had his first carousel ride and LOVED the experience.  The next time we were there, he wanted to ride again, but just could not remember what it was called.  The conversation went something like this:

Mr I:  Mommy, I want those animals.

Mommy:  We'll see all the animals, Buddy.  Let's go this way first.

Mr. I:  No, I want to go on the animals.

Mommy:  We can't touch these animals, Bud.  They might hurt us.

Mr. I.:  No, Mommy.  The animals that bounce.

Mommy:  Ah!  Do you mean you want to ride the carousel?

Mr. I:  Yeah!  The carousel!


I didn't happen to use any signs in that conversation, but I certainly could have!  (Where/what signs would you insert?)  But, Mr. I.'s experience with Signing Smart paired with the innate desire to be understood helped him re-word his request until he got his point across.

Now, let's go back to the scene at the beginning of the post.  *old fashioned VHS rewinding*  Take a deep breath, and remember the options you have.  For now, use a generic sign you know along with the spoken word for the concept you want to highlight.  Keep this new concept in the back of your mind and look it up later.  It will probably come up again.  (Do you remember the post about repetition?)  SUCCESS!

If you've learned the 4 Keys to Signing Smart Success, you've go the tools you need.  Don't let yourself panic in the moment because you don't know/can't remember a sign.  You know what to do.  You've got this!

If you haven't learned the 4 Keys to Signing Smart Success yet, what are you waiting for?  These simple, successful, research-proven strategies for signing with your infant or toddler are perfect for any of the special people in a child's life - parents, grandparents, extended family, teachers, caregivers, and more!  (Ask me about the beginner series of classes!)

Did you learn the 4 Keys to Signing Smart Success, but feel like they no longer fit the needs of your talking toddler or preschooler? It sounds like it's time to shift your point of view on those strategies and continue using American Sign Language to support your child's spoken language growth and conceptual development.  Ask me about the advanced workshop!

Above all, take a deep breath and remember the words of Benjamin Spock: "Trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Repetition (Detective Eyes #5a)

Did you see Mr. L. signing WHERE?

This has become a favorite game in my house right now.  As soon as anything or anyone is out of sight, we see the sign for WHERE.  This is always followed by someone asking "Where did it/he/the xxxx go?!"  When we find the "missing person/object" there's always lots of giggles.  Mr. L. especially enjoys playing the game over and over (and over!) with the same object.

Babies and Toddlers Learn Through Repetition

In addition to helping them learn cause and effect (my fork falls and makes a great sound every time I throw it on the floor), repetition helps our little ones build their memory skills and remember new information.  This also builds trust as s/he correctly anticipates what is about to happen.

Practice Makes Perfect!  

Just like us, our little ones like the feeling of success. Once they've mastered that new skill they've been practicing for so long, they may continue to repeat it for the excitement of continuing to be successful.  The excited fussing of mom, dad, or whoever else is around doesn't hurt either!

You can support this love for redundancy without feeling like your day is a broken record!  Read stories and sing songs a couple of times, then take a break before singing them again.  Find activities that let your little one experience doing things over and over like playing with a bucket of rice/sand/blocks/etc. and cups or boxes that can be filled and dumped.  Use this love to your benefit - create routines around meal time, bath time, and bed time.  It will help both you and your little one know what's coming!

Here's a website that helped me prepare my post today:

What does your little one love doing over and over (and over!) right now?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Detective Eyes #5

Here's a quick video of Mr. L.  - can you catch his sign?

Also - we talk frequently about finding situations where your child is happy and engaged.  I'd say this is a pretty good example of that too.  Do you see it?  (Check HERE to see if you're right!)

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, please let me help you change your answer!

Check out my website for all the upcoming classes and info about how to schedule one of your own!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Obvious Signs of Understanding

Sometimes, especially when a family says they're not seeing their child sign back or when their list of new signs seems to have stalled, we look for "obvious signs of understanding."  What exactly does that mean, though?

Take a look at this video of Mr. L.  He's in the middle of a favorite game "all fall down" when Mommy asks him to show his muscles.  Do you think he understood the request?

Signing with your child can produce some fabulous results - even when they aren't signing back!

What favorite games is your little one loving right now?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Evening Walks

On father's day, the man we were celebrating requested a trip to a local park to walk one of the wooded trails there.  We, of course, honored his request.  It turns out we loved that walk so much, we've gone out several times a week since then!  We've challenged ourselves to find a variety of new trails to try out, and have had lots of fun exploring our city.  It has become a way to exercise, spend time together as a family, and unwind from our day; it's something we all look forward to when the weather cooperates.

In creating this new tradition of "going for a walk in the woods" we have carefully selected our locations.  We always choose a route that is 1.5 - 2 miles.  While the boys cooperate, for the most part, sitting in their stroller and taking in the scenes, their good moods last only so long.  They each will get out here and there to walk a bit - especially loving to cross bridges on foot. We don't force their little legs to carry them farther than they want, and always have their "seat" ready for them when they tire of providing their own transportation. We also choose to only walk where we'll encounter a playground for the boys to play for a while.  That part has definitely helped them deal with the more boring parts when our walks seem too long!

Most of the time, our walks are anything but boring, though!  There's always something to see. This is often where we've capitalized on Signing Smart opportunities.  Mr. I. especially enjoys pointing out all of the squirrels we see - and there are no shortage of them!  Just about every evening, we run into some slightly more "exotic" animals as well.  One evening we even ran into Miss Deer eating her dinner.  She must be used to people on the path, because she didn't run off.  She kept her eye on us as she munched away, but we were able to observe her for quite some time before continuing on our way!

Here are some signs we've been able to use on our recent walks:  WALK, TREE, SNAKE, DEER, EAT, TURTLE, DUCK, BIRD, and BOAT.

What fun summer traditions does your family love?