I recently came across the cutest quote and one that I can definitely relate to as a mother. We all only want the best for our children and part of that is our children being able to be themselves while being accepted.
Fine motor skills are an important part of child development. They prepare children not only for writing, an everyday skill, but also for eating, dressing, and other important self-help skills. Here are some skills your child 0-2 years old should be exhibiting:
Birth to 3 months
- Hand to Mouth
- Reflexive grasp (Place a finger in your child’s palm. Child should automatically hold your finger)
- Visually Tracking High contrast toys (Red, black, and white have been shown to be the most intriguing to this group). Tracking center (midline) to side (both left and right)
- Swipes at dangling objects
- Follows moving objects with eyes (3-5 seconds is a typical attention span)
- Recognizes bottle
- Grasp and shakes rattle
- Raking small objects
- Poking finger in hole
- Transfer object from one hand to another
- Explores toys with hands and mouth
- Pincer grasp (a three finger approach to picking up things like cheerios)
- Removes socks
- Removes 2-3 pegs from peg board
- Puts objects in and takes them out of containers
- 30 second visual and auditory attention span
- Opens book, turns single page
- Tapping spoon
- Helps with dressing
- Plays quietly 5-10 minutes
- 5 minute plus attention span with a single toy
- Stacks 2-6 blocks
- Dumps objects out of a container
- Scribbles in imitation of vertical stroke
- Inserts three shapes into shape sorter
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Speech and language milestones are important little snippets that give us insight into how a child is developing. If your child is falling behind, they might just need a little help to achieve more. It might be a sign of some larger problem, but there is also a great chance that if you address their language now they will be ready to learn in school. Here are some great speech and language milestones to look for:
9 months- Produces long chains of consonant-vowel combinations
12 to 18 months- Identifies up to 6 body parts; Asks for “more”; Says 8-15 words; Follows one step commands; Uses the t, d, n, and h sounds
18 to 24 months- Imitates environmental noises; Uses 50 words; Uses me, my, mine; Uses 2 word phrases; Understands action words
2 to 3 years- Responds to WH questions, Responds to greeting, Expresses physical states (like tired, thirsty); Identifies 4 object by function (like, What do you eat with?)
3 to 5 years- Follows two step unrelated commands (like, put away the book and close the door); Uses the consonants: m, p,b,k,g,v,sh,ch; speaks intelligibility 90-100% with unfamiliar listener; answers yes/no correctly
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Children’s picture books are a great way to engage kids of all ages into literature. They can teach so much. The illustrations can draw them in, while great text can truly add to it. You can start reading to your children before they are even out of the womb and can continue as long as they let you. Make sure to engage them by asking questions about the pictures and plot. Have the kids make predictions, and check to see that they are not only paying attention but also understand what is happening in the story. Here are some great stories:
These are all great series style reads
Who doesn’t love Froggy. This Froggy picture book is “Froggy goes to School” by Jonathan London, but the whole series is loved in our house. Mercer Mayer books are also great! This one is “Just Me and My Mom,” but my son loves them all. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff is another classic. It’s repetitive, simplistic nature seems to be a hit with kids everywhere. “”The Night Before Summer Vacation” by Natasha Wig is similar to “The Night Before Christmas.” We also have “The Night Before Valentine’s Day.” They all are a hit and there are many more in the collection of the old school classic. Of course you can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss, and there are so many fantastic one’s to chose from I could of just had a section dedicated to him. I chose “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” but my son might of just went with “Hop on Pop” or one of the other classics.
Stand Alone Great Picture Books
“Big Bad Wolf” by Claire Masurel is the only picture book on here with a silly extra feature of page hole punch outs to see through to the next page. It is all about how people think the wolf is bad and scary, but really he just plays with his own kids. Very cutely written and a nice way to debunk scary monster myths with the kiddos.
This is part of another book, but I just love it on its own. “Edward the Emu” by Sheena Knowles is an adorable rhyming story about an Emu finding appreciation for itself. Eric Carle’s Books could of also gone in the series ones as they are adored classics. This one is “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin, Jr. is an alphabet loving kids highlight.”The Caterpillar and the Polliwog” by Jack Kent” is a great story about discovering one’s true purpose. “Through the Heart of the Jungle” by Jonathan Emmett has both repetition and discovery as to what could be lurking around the corner of the jungle. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is sure to melt anyone’s heart.
“I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont is a silly picture book fully of great opportunities to teach little ones about body parts.
“Wee Sing & Learn ABC” by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp is full of alphabet fun. “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown is a story of the ages. “The Little Engine the Could” by Watty Piper is great for anyone in trains. What is not to love. “Eggbert: the Slightly Cracked Egg” by Tom Ross is about an Egg that has to find its purpose in life and finds out the being different isn’t so bad. “Snug as a Bug” by Michael Elsohn Ross is as cute as it sounds. “On Top of Spaghetti” by Paul Brett Johnson is a fun book, especially if you like to read with accents 😉
“Cars Galore” by Peter Stein is great for your little cars lover. Pete the Cat definitely could have gone in series. He’s a classic series cat that kids are sure to love. “I Love you All Day Long” by Francesca Rusackas is an adorable story that let’s your kids know you love them even when when you are not with them.
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a story that lives for generations. “On the Moon” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is great for little explores. “It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny” by Marilyn Sadler explores why maybe life isn’t so bad at home.”Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton is great even for the very littles. “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli was my child’s favorite potty training book. Years later, he still thinks it’s funny.
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Electronics and child development seem to go at war with one another and yet seem inevitable. We all can judge the mom or dad who lets their child watch tv or play on a phone or device but is it really as harmful as everyone says. Here are some guidelines to use:
There is much to be said about all things in moderation, so lets use that as our first rule. Set a parameter. All the time is too much. Never can also be a bit extreme. I am not saying if you have a ‘never’ rule you are doing it wrong. I know my niece watched TV starting as a baby. Her dad always liked it on as a background noise. By the time she was in 5th grade, she could read at a college level as well as accomplish many other brilliant tasks. Not saying your child will have the same results. Just meaning the TV itself did not ruin her mind. With that in mind, expert suggest holding off on electronic until kids are three, so do keep electronic time minimized compared to all the other fun things kids have going on.
Look at what your child is watching. Think about it from their perspective. Really think about it. What are they learning? What information are they gaining? Finding something that is not only interesting to your child but also teaching them some great information, even if it seems none important, is wonderful! This is helping their brain grow. The brain grows in these first few years of life, so yes your son does not need to know random dinosaur facts to succeed in life but having a bigger brain will pay off huge long term.
How engaged is your child? An engaged child is more actively learning. This is what is SO great about smart devices like iPads. It allows interaction. This means electronics and child development reach a different level then they did before with just television.
Monitor your child. Know what time of day works best, what environment, and all the other ins and outs of your child. With our son, we notice if we let him play too long, his tantrums really start to flare. This is not OK. This means he is getting too much time for him, and we have to scale it back. I know it’s harder with the more children you have, but staying on top of it will really make a difference.
Watch what you are watching around your children. Even the news can be a bit much. Think of their sweet innocent eyes. Keep them that way as long as you can.