Family dinners are completely different in each house. The "picture perfect" television scenario is everyone home by 6:00 with a freshly prepared, healthy meal ready to be served. The reality is that today's typical family is so busy. Rushing to make dinner (or pick something up) so we can quickly get the kids to soccer practice or a PTA meeting is now the new norm. The close togetherness of a family dinner has gotten lost in the shuffle. I am guilty of neglecting the special time at the dinner table. My husband doesn't get home til about 7:30 each night, so I typically feed the kids much earlier. I used to sit with them as they chatted, but instead of engaging with them I took those 20 minutes to answer emails or sneak a peek at the news. The end result was Kenzie asking to use the iPad at the table or requesting a show to watch as she ate dinner. I didn't realize how much quality time we were missing out on as I was trying to multitask!
This is also a fantastic way to spend some extra time working on language skills. Start talking about books, asking & answering questions about your day, labeling things we see. These are all great opportunities to enhance everyday language skills!
You can download this Family Dinner Fun! card deck in my TpT store for free by clicking here! Please leave feedback, I can't wait to hear what you think of this, too!
Monday, January 30, 2017
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
I am so thankful for the fact that I have been blessed with both a son and a daughter. I get to see them both grow and learn- oh so differently! Even though they are both raised in the same house, with the same parents, they are both very different people. It always amazes me how boys are often naturally drawn to cars, trucks, and the rough & tough tumble play. And little girls adore taking care of baby dolls and playing dress up. Now don't get me wrong, Kenzie loves her share of super heroes, tickle fights, and car races, but why is it looked at so wrong when boys want to play with dolls?
When Kameron was 6 months old he carried around Kenzie's Sophia the First doll everywhere we went. Strangers always complemented us on how cute our little 'girl' was. Now wait a minute. Kameron was dressed in blues, baseball t-shirts, and looked as boy as they come, but because he was holding a doll, everyone assumed he was a girl.
There is such a stigma that comes with boys and dolls. When the topic arises in conversations at the park, birthday parties, or the ever-so opinionated parenting groups on Facebook you hear thing like,
"Boys play with trucks and guns, not baby dolls."
"My son isn't a sissy."
"Dolls are girl toys!"
"I won't let my son play with dolls."
But guys, there is so much good that can come from allowing your son to play with dolls! By doing so, they learn how to display caring and comforting behaviors. My son loves playing with his sister's doll, Bella. He feeds Bella and puts her to bed... always with a kiss! That's the making of a good husband and caring daddy one day if you ask me! But even beyond that, we can use these moments to teach and enhance language skills. Identifying body parts, labeling clothing, following directions, teaching verbs, and understanding emotions.
Playing with a doll allows for role playing and imagination! Pretend play is all about allowing children to act out what they will one day do as adults. So let him play! One day he may be a father or in an occupation that cares for children, like a doctor, an educator, or maybe even a speech therapist (I couldn't resist!)
So I will gladly take the risk of my son looking "girly" if that means it will help him expand his imagination, increase his language skills, and enjoy playing with his sister. Even better, it may help him become a kind, compassionate, caring person!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
A key component to a students' success in learning and reaching goals is behavior management. It's pretty close to impossible for a child to learn while they are yelling, screaming, and throwing a tantrum. Over the past 8 years I have paid close attention to fellow educators and their methods for maintaining positive behavior in their classrooms. I've spent countless hours on Pinterest perusing for the perfect method to the madness! In 2012 I became a mom and paid even more attention to strategies and ideas that I could use at home to encourage positive behavior.
The end result has been treasure box, Brag Tags, clip charts, stickers, Class DoJo... you name it, I have tried it. They all have done the trick for a while, but the excitement eventually fades away. The one thing I have started looking for is a strategy that is highly motivating. Kids like things they can touch. They want to earn something they can hold, not just a green dot in their agenda for the day.
I recently learned about Loops Bracelets on social media and was eager to give them a try. They seemed to fit the description I was looking for: something tangible that was highly motivating and fun! If you haven't heard of Loops Bracelets, they are cool, affordable bracelets made from a soft material that is both water proof and tear resistant. I have had mine on for almost a week and it has withheld showers, giving the kids baths, and the little guy tugging on it! The bracelets come in a variety of colors and designs. How fun would these be to trade after you earned one (or 7!) for awesome behavior and meeting your goals in therapy?!
Kenzie, my 4 year old going on 16, was super excited when my package of Loops came in the mail. I have been using them to reward positive behavior at home with her over the past week and I can tell you first hand, they are highly motivating! She even went to dance class last night excited to show off her new "paper bracelets" to all her friends!
You can check out all the designs and learn more about Loops Bracelets by visiting their website, here. But guess what!? The amazing people from Loops want to give some of these fabulous bracelets to some of you! Go hop over to Instagram today (@simply_speech) for a chance to win!
Contest ends Thursday, January 19, 2017!
Disclaimer: Loops Bracelets did provide me with a sample of the product in an exchange for a blog review, however, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.