How Sign Language Can Keep You (and Your Little One) From Tears

Standing in the store with a screaming, hungry, fussy baby is no fun...Now add a screaming, fussy, "pay attention to me!" toddler to the mix...

WELCOME TO HELL.

Everyone is staring.

Half wondering what you will do and half judging you for the fact that you can't seem to get your act together in the middle of the store.

But how do you even begin to handle this type of thing? How do you communicate with your unconsolable teary eyed toddler, while you are trying to feed or pacify your screaming infant?

The answer may seem strange, but it is American Sign Language.

 

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You may be wondering why AMERICAN Sign Language and you can read more about that in "What is the difference between American Sign Language and Just Plain Sign Language", but let's get back to those screaming kiddos.

If you have no American Sign Language (ASL) experience, you are stuck trying to do whatever it takes to finish your shopping trip, while pacifying screaming children or to just get up and leave because it is not worth the trouble to try and get through a simple shopping trip with screaming kids.

This is where the beauty of ASL enters! With just a few signs you and your little one can start to understand each other more effectively and efficiently!

For those of you with infants who are not verbal yet ASL allows you to communicate before they can speak and allows your little one to tel you what they need before they can voice it to you.

Now for those of you with older children, ASL is still an important language to learn because if you have ever had a toddler you know that they are not the best at expressing their emotions, but tend to lean towards screaming or the dreaded tantrum in order for you to figure out what they need, or want.

With American Sign Language that grey area is taken out allowing parent and child to communicate better before and during a tantrum to help relinquish the effects and longevity of the tantrum.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily ask your child if they were tired, hungry, thirsty, or mad? Do you think this would make your life easier?

Well let me assure you that it can!

I am so sure that you will be loving the transition in your life when using American Sign Language that I have created a free 2 week Email course that will help you get started and discover all of the wonderful things ASL can offer you and your family! Did I mention that you also get a fun intro into Sensory play?

So what exactly do you get in this 14 day Email Course

You will learn 2 signs every other day, and get a sensory activity to practice those signs on the other days.

This will help your little one and you solidify the signs in your mind by seeing saying and doing. By using all of these learning methods you will actually retain what you learn in this free course instead of having it only hang out in your brain for 72 hours.

Photo Credit of The Peak Performance Center 

This is only the first step to learning American Sign Language though.

Vocabulary is wonderful, but remember how I said you should do it right the first time? Well you are going to want to follow up with more language structure so that you and your child can actually communicate in American Sign Language an not just know a lot of vocabulary. 

Just like teaching your child Spanish instead of Spanglish, Sign Language takes work, but it will be beneficial for years to come for you and your child.

So what are you waiting for!? Get started on this amazing journey to learn all about American Sign Language!

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My Baby is Deaf…Now What?

 

A bundled up sweet baby is laying against your chest as the doctor explains that your child may never hear. All the lullabies you sang as a child, the sound of water, your voice…They may never hear.

You are in shock and denial that this perfect little baby you are staring at will not have all the ability that a normal baby would.

But, what is “normal” anyways?

As a parent, allow yourself to grieve through your child not having the ability to hear. It does not mean that you love them any less or that they are any less the love of your life! It just means that you are human and your idea of what was going to happen didn’t so feeling the way you do doesn’t make you a bad parent.

You will experience the different levels of grief with this new change, which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These will not manifest in any given linear order because every person is different with different ideas and experiences.

You are probably asking yourself what you are going to do now because everything you planned has changed, but let me assure you that is okay!

Your child can still have a full, regular life being Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing.

There are so many Deaf individuals who have made an impact in the world!

For example, Rachel Mazique is a Deaf English Writing teacher and Miss Deaf America Ambassador, actress Marlee Matlin, and singer Paul Stanley from KISS was even born Deaf in one ear!

This is just naming a few of the amazing people that just happen to be Deaf.

Being Deaf or having hearing loss at some level is not a life sentence.

I MEAN EVEN MY PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR IS DEAF!

Your child can be anything they want to be! There will just be a bit of a learning curve as you learn to do it differently than other parents around you.

That is why I started Imagination Signing. I want to be a resource for you and your family to have easy accessibility to everything you need to learn American Sign Language, talk about the issues and feelings you are having, and give you valuable information that can make your life easier!

Here you can take online courses, print out workbook material, and use sensory play to play and bond with your child.

I am here to help you! And I have a brand new community here for you too! Whether you have decided to approach teaching your child whole language, just ASL, or ASL with a Cochlear Implant this is a safe place to ask questions and not be judged.

Join our Facebook Community Here!

Want to check out our kid friendly classes?

Want to learn as a student or adult?

I want to know what you need and how I can help you.

Just Keep Swimming: Mess Free Sensory Bin

Sensory comes in all shapes and sizes and as we get towards the end of a beautiful summer, I would like to introduce you to a fun in the sun, or in the living room, sensory bin that is sure to please. With no water needed your little one can go on an under sea adventure to find Nemo and Dory!

My daughter was obsessed with this activity and her friends enjoyed finding the multiple Dory and Nemo figures we placed in the bin.

To get started you will need a long and shallow bin. I love the ones that fit under the bed or crib because I can leave my sensory gear in there or put things like diapers and clothes in them later! Here is the one I like best, and use often.

You will also need a good amount of blue toys. I love the ball pit balls we have for my daughter because I can use them for multiple sensory bins and they are just fun to play with! They are also great for little hands! Think of all the cool stuff you can do with these! I also put all our soft blocks in this bin to give a few textures and they built blue “water” cities with them.

Finally, you will need at least one Nemo and Dory toy. If your child is as obsessed as mine this will be an easy find, which is why we had multiple Nemos and Dorys in our box. You can get a bath toy set (great for real water fun) or this figure set to find even more friends!

Now just have fun under the sea finding all your fishy friends! And don’t forget, “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, What do we do we swim, swim.”

 

Show me some of your sensory bins and interesting things you put in them!

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Music and Movement Sensory Play- 2 & 3 Year Olds

Music is a wonderful thing that can be soothing at any age. When it comes to sensory play, music can be used in a variety of ways to help your child further understand the world around them.

For example, singing to your baby and doing finger plays helps your child develop rhythm and vocabulary. Today we will focus on 2 and 3 year olds and their need for music and movement simultaneously.

This activity will use a variety of senses including touch, sound, speech, and sight, which will make the play fun as well as educational.

For this activity you will need:
~A device to play music on, such as a phone, CD player, etc.
~Children’s Music
I suggest Raffi, The Laurie Berkner Band, or if you are looking for more music video songs Praise Party by Yancy is fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Instruments-you can always use pots, pans, and spoons as well or here is a set I like from Melissa and Doug

 

~An open space

Directions:
You will want to have all your materials together before you tell your toddler what you are doing so they don’t get distracted. Have them stand in the middle of the room and turn on 2 or 3 of your/their favorite songs. (Or more if they like it!) Have the instruments out so they can play with them as you

Some of the ones I like to do:
We Are The Dinosaurs– The Laurie Berkner Band

For this one you can march around like dinosaurs and pretend to be a big dinosaur or a little dinosaur! Littles have a great time making big dinosaur roars as well!
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)– The Laurie Berkner Band

This song goes back and forth between fast and slow, which helps your toddler understand opposites. When you are talking about the turtle walk, dance, and skip very slow, and when you are talking about the rabbit run, dance, and skip really fast!

Junior Ragtime– Raffi

I love this as a way to introduce fun styles of music that kids do not usually hear and it is so fun to dance to! Maybe you can teach your little how to do the Charleston!

Shake My Sillies Out– Raffi

I use this in almost every class I teach to toddlers because it is a great way to get them moving and then settled down right before you start talking about something else.

This is a great activity to do to get your child moving, get that little extra energy out, or a fun thing to do inside on a rainy or snowy day!

What songs did you use? What part of this activity did your child like best?

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Playing Together: The Importance of Sensory Play (Guest Post Featured on Rookie Parenting)

As a parent helping your child learn is one of the most important things to you, and sensory play is a fun and engaging way for your child to excel in many different areas. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By stimulating your child’s senses, you are helping them develop creatively, socially and emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically through simply playing with them.

You have probably seen your child play with the most inexpensive “toys” like a paper towel roll, a pot and a spoon, or straws. Your child is using anything and everything to explore the world around them and encouraging this behavior will benefit you and your child by letting your child explore and create and giving you the opportunity to discuss what is happening in any given project.

boy-958457_1280By stimulating your child’s senses you are helping their brain develop because when a sense is engaged neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning in later years.

Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. When your child is allowed to use multiple senses to accomplish a task, they will learn more from the experience and retain more information. This ideal does not change as you get older, even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged! Even you are creating new neural pathways in your brain when engaging in sensory play, which can help negate Alzheimer’s(1), assist in creative thinking, problem solving, and time needed to respond to a catastrophic situation (2). Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health.

Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health. Click To Tweet

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So how do you start integrating sensory play into your everyday life? The good news is it is simple! By taking objects that you already have in the house you can create many fun experiences for you and your child. For example, take a colander and spaghetti noodles (or pipe cleaner) and challenge your child to put the noodles in the holes. They will be drawn to this experience and will start to develop basic motor skills as well as problem solving skills when they break IMG_20160824_210528the spaghetti noodles.

 

For older children play-doh and fondant are great ways to teach sensory play, as well as skills that your child can

use in the future such as baking a cake. Fondant can be used to make beautiful designs, but it takes time and patience to get the results wanted, both are needed skills in everyday decision-making and life.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new and make a mess! This is a great time to bond with your child and create fun memories that will last a lifetime!

For tips on handling the mess, more sensory ideas, and using American Sign Language with your child (also great for sensory play!) visit imaginationsigning.comis designReferences:

(1) How to Help the Ones We Love Symptoms and Strategies for:. (2016). Retrieved August 25,
2016, from http://www.alzheimershope.com/stop_delay.php

(2) Center for Brain Health. (2013, September 9). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from
http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-finds-brain-training-enhances-brain-health-of-adults-over-50

Other Resources:

Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self

Getting Messy: Childs Play, the Mess It Creates, and How to Handle It

What is Sensory Play?

0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at thelight on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining

whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

Newborn Sensory Play: Soft Toy Stimulation

The thing that amazes me the most about newborns is the fact that they are a blank slate. They have no comprehension of object permanence and do not know how objects move about in the world around them.

This activity will focus on cognitive and visual development through moving a Pom Pom or other soft toy up and down, side to side, and touching baby’s tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose.

Material Needed:
➺ Large Pom Poms or other soft baby toy
➺ Safe place to lie baby on back

Note: If using Pom Poms, remember to never leave small objects with a baby or to leave soft toys with a baby in their crib. These can become a suffocation hazard.

 

First take your toy or Pom Pom and lift it about 10-12 inches above your baby. Slowly move the object from side to side as you baby tracks the object. This will be slow at first, so take your time before moving on. Continue by moving the object up and down touching baby on the tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose. I like to make a cute little sound like “boop!” when the object touches to give the baby some noise to associate with the action.

As your baby gets a bit older this is a great activity to do using opposites such as left and right, up and down, as well as learning the different parts of the face.

Click on the picture below to view some good options for Pom Poms from Amazon

If you are looking for a baby toy that would work well with this activity a soft rattle would do well. Both my kids have also really liked the OBall brand of toys because they are easy to grasp and usually have a fun rattle inside like this rainstick ball.

Have you found any toys that work well for this activity that your child loves? I would love to hear your recommendations!

 

Newborn Sensory Play: Singing & Rocking

Holding your baby is such a wonderful thing and is imperative for their healthy growth. One of the ways that you can stimulate your baby’s senses from birth is by holding, rocking, and singing or talking to them. This may not seem like the most exciting sensory play, but I guarantee it is important and I promise, as they get older, you will be running after them so enjoy this moment of snuggling.

Materials Needed:
➺Rocking chair or your arms for rockingbaby-21249_1920

➺A quiet time and place

Find a time when you are not busy or stressed and you are in a quiet place, such as right before nap time. Sing or talk to your baby as you hold them in your arms rocking them or holding their head in your hands at your knees. This is a great time to tell them you love them, give them Eskimo kisses, as well as sing lullabies that have been passed down in your family.

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If you need some ideas here are a few:
Skidamarink a Dink a Dink
Drip Drop by Rita Baloche
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Down in the River to Pray 
♪’I’ve Got Peace Like a River

 

 

Teaching Your Baby to Sign


When you first had your little bundle of joy I’m sure you talked about what it would be like when they started playing, walking, and talking. You will see, even in these very early stages, the look of curiosity and learning as your little one see colors, textures, and items that they have never seen. I highly suggest heading over to the Sensory Play section and trying out some sensory play with your child at each stage of development. This will be a fun way for you to play together and bond, but will also show your child the world around them in fun and new ways.

Children are such sponges for everything around them, even language. It is so natural for the brain to acquire language that we do not think much of it, as long as we are talking to our     babies regularly.

But, what if you could start understanding your child before they could verbalize sounds to make words?

The answer is American Sign Language, which will benefit you and your child now through early communication and less frustration as well as later on with advanced vocabulary and communication skills. You can view all the benefits by age group here.

Now you are probably asking, “How do I get started? Won’t it be hard to teach myself and my child a new language?”

It is so easy to start to teach your little one basic signs starting as early as 3 months, however, don’t get discouraged if you do not see results right away. Just like it took time for you to learn how to ride a bike, swim, and cook your favorite dish, your child will need time to learn the signs you are presenting them as well. The more you practice together the faster you will see your little one start to manifest the signs you are using.

“The signs my baby is using are different in ways than the real sign! What should I do! Am I doing something wrong?!”

This is completely normal! I have parents concerned about this topic ALL THE TIME! Continue to encourage your child as they sign and keep showing them the correct sign. For example, let’s say you have been learning all of the animal signs and your child loves their teddy bear, but continues to sign bear like this:

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(The way your child does the sign)

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(The correct sign)

Acknowledge that they have signed Bear by saying something like, “Do you want your bear? (Correctly sign Bear) Good job telling me what you wanted! You love cuddling your Bear!” (Use correct sign again). Once you have done this multiple times with a sign your child will correct it all on their own.

Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will not be fluent in a few months and you may still sign things differently than some people. But, perfect practice makes perfect, so keep showing the correct sign and encouraging them as they continue to learn and develop more fine motor skills.

Learning a new language together will be an adventure and some days it will be hard, but you have support! Please feel free to email kabrina@imaginationsigning.com or fill out the contact form with any and all questions, comments, and concerns you may have!

 

Socially Addicted: Kids and the Media

12809518_10154087273029382_4024219675046577160_nThe weather finally let up long enough for my husband and I to take our toddler to the park and boy was she excited! While she dug in the muddy rocks and climbed up the stairs to the slide, several teenage boys walked into the little gated park. I was worried they would cause some trouble, however, they proceeded to sit on the swings, one next to the other, and pull out their smart phones. I was shocked that the first thing they wanted to do was play on their phones when they were right next to each other and could have played tag, tug of war, or built a fort. I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t remember doing that as a kid!”. We eventually started back home and even my husband, while pushing the stroller, was on his phone. My head spun with the realization that this was a huge problem, not only for kids, but even adults in every generation. We are so consumed by what this little box can tell us that we are missing the big picture of everyday life! No wonder children get in trouble, marriages are falling apart, and people lack basic communication skills. So, what can you do as a parent with children and maybe even spouses that have the phone, computer, or Ipad glued to their hand?

First off, be the example.

I know sometimes work or that interesting story on Facebook can seem more important, but when your spouse wants to talk or your toddler is tugging on you to come build blocks or play dolls, GO! For the love of all things good, GO! Your spouse will be appreciative that you chose to have some quality time with them and your child will understand that everything has a place and that they ARE MORE IMPORTANT than whatever can wait on your device.

Set time aside for your digital work, especially if you have to do work at home or you work from home.2

Being a blogger, I have to wait until my kids are in bed and my husband is at work to get any good content out. Having a toddler makes it almost impossible to be pressing buttons and not have her right in my lap “helping” bring you this dgjhksdgjndsvk siu fsjdg sdg sjdn. You see what I mean. This makes my life less stressful because I’m not trying to balance spend time with husband before he goes to work and take care of baby who needs me, what seems like, every second. I also have more time to just sit and do instead of being interrupted a million times with snack requests and where something is in the drawer.

Limit your child(ren)s time using media.

This will benefit them in many ways from being able to sleep better, entertain themselves without media, and allow them to learn things media cannot give (such as practicing the piano or reading a book). I understand most things can be done on the internet, but helping your child learn how to function outside the walls of the World Wide Web will help them function in society and communicate better with others.

Set up activities that do not associate media into your child(ren)s schedule as well as your own.

Go swimming, pick up a real book, color, paint, draw, go for a walk, have a picnic, go to a museum, the activities are endless! These activities will help to strengthen problem solving skills (because weird things happen in the real world), and it gives you a chance for a multitude of teachable moments. For example, let’s say you decide to go to the Children’s Museum with your kids and another child falls and gets hurt or finds they are lost? This is a great time to help the child together and to stop for a moment and talk about compassion and how we can help others around us. These hands on lessons will be a much better benefit for teaching than anything Dora, Doc McStuffins, or Barney can teach.

Take a moment to check out the mess free Finding Nemo Inspired Sensory Bin Activity to get you started!

Finally, instead of using media, whether television or an app on your phone, as a babysitter for your kids try giving them small things to do or pre-preparing activities to keep them distracted while you do the dishes.

I am guilty of this one, big time! If I want to take a shower Mickey Mouse Club House is calling my daughters name! And I am by no means saying that the occasional show while you get something done is always bad, but, just like we like to say about food, everything in proportion. If you say your kids can only have two hours of media time, whether it was the babysitter or not, two hours is it. If you bend on this rule, they will figure it out fast, those smart kids! This would be a great time to sign them up for a class or make them practice piano so you can have a few minutes, but they are not engrossed in the latest Bachelor at 5 years old.

Media is by no means a bad thing. It is actually wonderful, if it is used wisely. Don’t worry about trying to keep it away from your kids completely because they will find it, but be aware of how much they are on it as well as what they are watching and playing. What do you do to manage the media in your house? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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