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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Joshua: The (Almost Always) Courageous (Featuring The Peculiar Treasures)

 

I am so excited to introduce this wonderful lady to you all! I started poking around her blog a few months ago and FELL IN LOVE with what she talks about and I think you will too!

 

So (drumroll please!) Without further ado, Kristin from The Peculiar Treasure!

 

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She has a great post for us talking about Joshua so dig in and tell us what you are thinking!

 
 

A photo by Todd Quackenbush. unsplash.com/photos/Nk5rSNq13sM

 
 

I’m not going to lie- sometimes I can be a big weenie when it comes to things that scare me. Ask me to go talk to a stranger, invite someone who looks sad to sit at our lunch table, or ask the embarrassing question that no one else is willing to ask, and I’m your girl! But ask me to meet someone for an interview by myself, dance in front of a crowd, or do any sort of public speaking, and you’ll see a totally different woman. The difference? The first set of tasks doesn’t scare me at all. The second set absolutely does!

 

But this begs the question, what is courage? Because if courage is simply doing things that scare other people, but don’t scare me, then boy am I courageous! But something tells me that isn’t exactly what God had in mind when he told us to be courageous.

 


 

Joshua 1:9 is probably the most quoted verse from the book of Joshua- and for good reason! But did you know that within the first chapter of Joshua, God had already said “Be strong and courageous” two other times?

 


6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Sometimes, I fear that people skip over this far too quickly (myself included).

 

We tend to read it and think, “Ok, I will be courageous and strong today during my presentation. And I will do great”. And while there isn’t anything wrong with drawing courage from this verse, there is a lot more to it- and to all of Joshua- than that.

 


Courage and Faithfulness

The thing about God telling Joshua to be strong and courageous, is that that’s not all He said. What He really said was, (and I’m paraphrasing): “Be strong and courageous. Cling on to me, and seek me, and trust me. That is where your courage should come from. Keep my commands near, live by them, and trust me for all I’ve promised”.

 

So when we say, “I’m a Christian. I can have courage and do well on this project”, that’s great and all, but God is asking for far more than us just declaring that we will do well. He is asking us to trust HIM.

 

Courage has nothing to do with trusting our own abilities. Courage- real courage- is trusting God and knowing that He is in control, leading, and holding us.
Throughout the book of Joshua, Joshua seeks God, listens for God, and obeys God. He trusts God to 1.) do what He has already promised, and 2.) continue leading him all through his life.

 

There is one incident however, in Joshua 9:14 that Joshua hastily took a deal with some men he met on the outskirts of the city. He did not consult God about this (he was trusting his own wisdom and desires, instead of seeking God first). This resulted in Joshua being tricked by the men he made a deal with.

 

When I read that passage, I don’t naturally think of Joshua’s sin as a lack of courage. But if we define being courageous as trusting what God has commanded us to do, living by it, and seeking Him in all things (especially when things aren’t black and white), then in this moment, Joshua was not being courageous. He was, in true human fashion, being a weenie.

 

 

But you know what? We all have those moments. Joshua did not seek God, and that was a bad thing, but God had mercy on him. And God has mercy on us, too.

 

He only asks that we work towards being courageous and trusting Him the next time around.

 

So next time we are afraid, we need to remember that courage is the act of trusting God, no matter how scared we are, and no matter how difficult things look. We are to trust that He will help us accomplish what we need to accomplish, that He will help us in times of trouble, and that He is taking care of every aspect of our lives. That, dear friends, is courage. And that is what God asks of us.

 
 

Don’t forget to check out more great content at Kristen’s blog The Peculiar Treasure
thepeculiartreasureblog.com

 
 

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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!

The Forgotten Stones-Joshua 4-GMG

This chapter was a difficult one to write about because there is the reminder of getting across the Jordan, however there are also the 12 stones that are left at the bottom of the Jordan River that the Bible says are still there.

So let’s talk about the memorial 12 stones first because we know for sure what those mean. God wanted the people to remember for all future generations how they came to the Promised Land as well as the struggles that God helped them through supernaturally to get there.

The generation that wandered in the wilderness was not very good at remembering what God had done for them even though they had A LOT of cool things happen. (The cloud and fire were really neat!) Joshua explains to the people that they will tell their children about what God did for them and the pile of stones was the reminder.

Now the hard part! After reading several weird ideas and re-reading that section of chapter 4 several times, here is my idea of what it means.

I think the 12 stones that are at the bottom of the Jordan symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel that didn’t get to the Promised Land. It was a clean slate, but also a way to almost mourn for them as well. If you really think about it the people that are going into the land were young, just born, or not even a twinkle when Israel was told they would wonder for 40 years (which may be why they needed to see the water part as well in order to understand the greatness of God they had heard about because they had not seen all the awesome miracles God had done for their parents).

The fact that we are told the stones are there to this day shows that there was a distinct group of people who didn’t get to the Promised Land because they didn’t believe they would make it or that God would come through.

You could take that all the way out to salvation saying we all have the opportunity to get to the Promised Land (Heaven), but some will not believe and be left behind.

It is interesting to think about, but not even scholars who are WAY SMARTER than I can agree, so I pose the question to you…What do you think the 12 stones in the Jordan mean?

Holy Ground Flashbacks-Joshua 5-GMG

Did anyone else do a double take at the end of this chapter!? When I read that Joshua was told to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground, I had a flashback to Moses with the burning bush. Isn’t it cool that God was making Himself so known to the people of Israel!

I find it interesting that He is also the Commander of God’s army (Jesus?). We know Joshua worshipped Him and (at least in my NKJV Bible) every term referring to this Commander is capitalized, which references God, so either God is the Commander of God’s army, OR Joshua is totally meeting Jesus face to face (which is more likely because 1. Joshua calls Him Lord, 2. Joshua worships Him, and 3. Joshua doesn’t die at the sight of His face{Exodus 33:20})

(Humming “I’m in the Lord’s Army)

But, back to the first part of the chapter… Joshua is commanded to circumcise all the men who were born in the wilderness because it had not been done yet. This is part of the new beginning we talked about before, and it was a reminder of the covenant God made with Abraham, which is where the circumcision started.

Another important quick detail is that the manna stopped coming. This was one of the first steps of taking in the land because they were able to eat of the land that whole year.

These last few chapter, in hindsight, are preparation for the people before they take over Jericho.

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.

When I Grow Up: Being Mom

“What did you want to be when you grow up?” I curiously asked my Mother-in-Law on our way to lunch with my two little ones. We had been talking about my business and how my Brother-in-Law was finishing up school to be a lawyer, and I was dying to know what she had imagined herself doing when she was little. I was expecting something like be a teacher, or a ballerina because she is a very ambitious woman.

She looked at me on that windy mountain road and said, “I wanted to be a mom”. I was a little shocked. My Mother-in-Law, a successful business woman, wanted to be a mom. She proceeded to explain that she, “lived in a generation where they didn’t ask girls what they wanted to be. Everyone assumed you would be a mother, and that the man would take care of working.” And that was that.

Obviously, in this day and age, we live in a world where girls are, asked what they want to be, and are encouraged to pursue those dreams. You can see women picking themselves up by the bootstraps to make a better life for themselves everywhere you go. From the single mother who works and finds time to get to every school function to the first generation college student working several jobs to put themselves through school, there is no lack of talented up and coming women. I was one of these rising stars in the eyes of my peers, and then I got married and found out soon after that I was pregnant.

As a mother and a business woman, sometimes the lines get blurred by sleepy eyes, sick kids, a working husband, dirty house, and the other 500 items I still have to check off my list and I lose sight of my ambitions and dreams. Before I became a mom, I was convinced I could conquer the world, and at the time, I was. Then we found out we were pregnant with our precious little girl 4 years and 5 months before I planned on even trying to get pregnant. Thus, my five-year plan didn’t work out as well as I had hoped and the people that had been giving me accolades for my accomplishments before were not impressed with me creating human life. I fell into depression and walked around blankly for many months with no clue what I was supposed to do with my life and feeling completely useless to my husband, society, and to myself. My success had been what gave me value and being a mom with dirty hair, dark circles, and puke on every shirt did not make me feel valuable at all.

One day I woke up though, and had to ask myself what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had forgotten my passion and drive because I became focused on what society told me after I had a baby, that I was not as valuable, that I was “wasting my life”. I had to change my thought process and “stick it to the man” so to speak. I decided that I would rise above the assumptions of my circle of family and friends and show them that I could be a mom and follow my dreams, even when those dreams have temporarily changed or are put on hold.

I can tell you not everything I thought would be happening in my life right now is happening, and that is okay. I am a mom first and foremost, but I will not let society shame me for thinking about my future as well and neither should you. We have to stick together as moms and not degrade every parenting style and life choice everyone makes. Take the time to take care of you today because if you are empty, you cannot give anything you don’t have to your kids. They will thank you later for taking care of you, your husband will thank you, and you will thank you. Don’t throw your dreams away. They may be on hold or temporarily change, but hold onto them and like Walt Disney said, “Keep moving forward” because you got this momma!

 

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