Follow the Leader: Following your Child’s Lead in Play

 

What is child-led play? 

Child-led play is allowing your child to direct and lead the play activity. Children will choose what they want to play based on their interests and how they will carry on with play without adult direction. We as adults then wait to slowly join their play and enter their world by following their cues, ideas, and motives.  

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Playing With Food: Why and How We Need to Teach Our Children to Play with Food

As most of us know, our children can get very messy when they eat!  Did you know this is actually the best way for them to learn about and try new foods?  

Picture yourself at a new restaurant.  You order something off the menu that someone else recommended but when it comes to the table it is different from anything you’ve ever eaten before. What do you do?  Do you dive right in and take a huge bite?  Probably not.  You likely interact with the food first.  Maybe you simply look at the food, observe all the different colors on the plate.  You may even cut the food open and/or push it around the plate to observe its different properties (e.g., squishy, dry, wet, crunchy, etc.).  Next, you may smell the food.  Is it a good smell or is it making you want to push the plate away?  Finally, you may take a little bite off to taste it before eating an entire fork/spoon full.  

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When Their Storm Meets Our Calm: The Art of Co-Regulation

 

Has your cheerful child ever quickly become a ball of tears when a near-by peer begins crying? Have you ever lost the pep in your step after spending time around a grumpy co-worker? This is because the feelings and behaviors of people in close proximity to us, directly impact how we feel, and respond to our own emotions. In the same way adults are impacted by others actions, children pick up the moods of others around them. However, being able to regulate emotions effectively and efficiently is not an innate skill. A child’s capacity to manage their big emotions relies on their brain development and their experiences. Therefore, when feeling upset or overwhelmed children look to their caregivers for help with regulating their emotions and appropriately respond to external stressors. Read More ›

Container Baby Syndrome: Why equipment-free exercise is best for your baby

 

What is “Container Baby Syndrome?”

Container Baby Syndrome is a “collection of movement, behavioral, and other problems caused by a baby or infant spending too much time in a container-any commonly used piece of baby equipment that resembles a container.” While this may sound intimidating, Container Baby Syndrome is highly preventable and there are many ways parents and caregivers can help children develop while avoiding this!

 

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Summer Sun Sensory Fun

 

It’s officially summertime in the Chi and we couldn’t be more excited! This perfect weather is practically begging our little ones to go outside and play. These fun, summer sensory rich activities are wonderful ways to engage our children’s tactile system and expose them to different scents, textures, and sensations. 

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The Importance of Free Play

 

What is Free Play?

Free play is when we allow children to have freedom to play in whatever and however way they want, with no direction from an adult (but adults are encouraged to participate from time to time!) They can choose their play materials and activities and how they engage with them. Choice is the crucial component for free play.

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Speech at the Beach!

 

Summertime in Chicago is approaching and that can only mean one thing… Time to hit the beach! Whether your child is playing in the sand or splashing in the water, there are so many amazing ways to continue targeting his or her speech and language goals while soaking up some sun. Let’s “dive” into a few different beach-based activities and how you can implement speech and language for kids of all ages with ease!

 

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Neurodiversity Means Natural Variety in the Human Brain

 

In recent years, it has become more recognized that a shift in societal perspectives is necessary for true inclusion, specifically regarding (but not limited to) autism and ADHD. Historically, autism and ADHD have been pathologized to focus on the way areas for growth impair a person’s “normalness”, rather than the constructive ways that individuals use their unique strengths. Neurodiverse children and adults do experience difficulties related to living in a world that is not accommodating and understanding of differences. The neurodiversity movement does not seek to trivialize how challenging growing up neurodiverse can be, but rather help focus on building shared understanding of the value neurodiverse individuals have just as they are.

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Gentle Parenting

You’re at Target and your child is begging for a toy.  You say no, and he/she begins to cry.  How do you respond?

  1. Put the toy in your cart.
  2. Tell them to stop crying.
  3. Explain that it’s incredibly frustrating to not get what we want, and that it’s okay to feel sad about that, while maintaining the boundary that you will not get her the toy.

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