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  • Amy M

Beat the November Blahs with this November Blahg

Our long, beautiful fall has come to an end and it's getting colder and darker out here in Alberta. Now is definitely a good time to grab a warm drink, and contemplate some fun ways to embrace the cold and dark while supporting your child's speech and language development.


Here are some ideas to get you started:


Night sky concepts


Sure, it's getting dark by the time you and the kids get home from work and school, BUT ... this just makes it that much easier to discuss the concepts of LIGHT and DARK in relation to the night sky. Look to see if one side of the sky is LIGHTER or DARKER than the rest, then talk about why that is. Once the stars come out you can discuss which stars are BRIGHT, which ones are DIM, and whether the moon is FULL, CRESCENT or not even visible.


If you do go stargazing, you might want to sing the old favourite "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" song and have your child look to see if any stars are twinkling.




ESTABLISHING ROUTINES FOR GOING OUTSIDE


I am sure I am not the only parent who has struggled to get my kids to put on the right winter clothing before going out, and then hang it up when they come back in. The best way I have found to help my kids be more independent with this is to print a visual that sits by the front door, then refer to it as you name each item they need to put on. You can do this on your own using something as basic as a post-it note (don't let your lack of drawing skills throw you off - I did this in 30 seconds and it worked)...



... or you can create your own in a word document (then bribe your favourite teacher to laminate it for you), or you can just use this one which I used for my kids (I laminated it and had them check off each item with a whiteboard marker as they finished it).


Visuals are great because they are constantly there to refer to (unlike spoken language which is gone as soon as you finish talking), and they encourage independence even for young kids with no literacy skills. Using consistent language like "Put your coat on", "Put your boots on", "what do you need next?" will also help support language development because repetitive phrases help reinforce children's understanding of vocabulary and concepts.



"this house is going craaaaazy!"



Okay, that's pretty much true for my house all the time. If you want some planned craziness in your house, I suggest getting your hands on a copy of Robert Munsch's book "50 Below Zero" and reading it a few times with your child. Encourage your child to say Jason's repetitive phrases, like making the snoring "zzzz zzzz zzzz" sounds, "What's that?" and everybody's favourite line "This house is going craaaazy!" You can really make this story come alive if you act it out. Dad may not be on board with climbing on top of the refrigerator or getting dragged up the stairs (!), so find a stuffed animal to act out Dad's part. Acting this book out is a LOT of fun but it can take a while, so leave this for sometime when you've got a little spare time.




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