Thursday, June 26, 2008

Developmental Wednesday #13

Language is obviously a huge part of our life and something that we teach our children everyday. It can often seem overwhelming to add "language development" to the list of things that you need to work on with your preemie. There are actually a lot of everyday activities that present easy opportunities for teaching your preemie about language and how it works. Here are tips to get you started:

For preemies who are 0-6 months (adjusted):

Diaper Changing - We all know that we have to do this (many) times a day. This is a great opportunity to work on back and forth, face to face interaction. Use this time to imitate your preemie's sounds. Once you start imitating him/her and waiting for him/her to answer, your preemie will start to have a conversation.

Feedings - Eating is a social occasion. Use feeding times as a chance to help teach your preemie to signal anticipation and when he/she may want more or are done. Eye gaze, vocalization and gestures are great ways to signal that someone has had enough or wants more

Mirrors - A mirror helps your preemie recognize him/herself as someone separate from mommy or daddy. Use the mirror to teach body parts and introduce some important vocabulary.

For babies who are 6-12 months:

Peek-A-Boo - This is a great game to start teaching turn taking and cause and effect. Your preemie will also learn separation in a safe way.

Stacking Blocks - This fun game is a great way to teach your preemie about words such as up/down, on/off and Ready, Set, Go.

Cause and Effect Toys - Any toy that spins, makes noise, pops up, etc. a the push of a button or spin of a wheel is great way to teach cause and effect. As your preemie gets the concept of "if I push this, then music plays," he/she will get the concept that "if I talk, people will listen and respond."

Board Books - As I've talked about in previous posts, books are a great way to teach kids about language. Pat objects on the page and name them. Create a book with pictures or people and/or objects that your preemie knows so that he/she can start to learn and verbalize the people around her/him.

Walks - Walks are a great way to point out new, exciting things to your preemie. Pay attention to where your preemie is looking and label what he/she is looking at.

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