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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The Isolation Phase: Being Mommy

Isolation is so easy to fall into. We get wrapped up in what is going on in our lives only to look up one day looking for a friendly face and not knowing who to call or turn to.
 

I know I was there…
 
For a very,
 
Very
 
Long time…
 
I felt insignificant, silly, unloved, unwanted, and the list could go on depending on the day. And you know what? The more moms I meet the more I realize it wasn’t and isn’t just me.
 
If you feel this way, you are not alone.
 
You are not insignificant.
You are not silly, unloved, or unwanted.
 
And I am so sorry that you are feeling all these things.
 
But let me encourage you that there are many people who are struggling through the same issues, so you have support!
 
Where can you get that support?
 
First off talk to your OBGYN or Midwife about how you are feeling. Be honest with them because you may need more than just talking with someone to start feeling like you again. And let me add there is no shame in asking for help!
 
Being a mom is tough and asking for help does not make you weak or a bad mom! You have to take care of you too! You can’t give from a well that has run dry.
 
Below is a list of other places that you can reach out to, to get connected with other moms.

 

 

fit4mom

Fit4Mom- http://fit4mom.com/

 

 

mopslogo1

MOPS- http://www.mops.org/groupsearch/index.php

 

 

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Moms Club- https://www.momsclub.org/blog/find-a-chapter/

 

 

These are just a few of the many groups out there. You can check into local churches with groups as well as Google local groups in your area.
 

What helped you deal with the isolation of being a mom? What would your advice be to new mommies? Let me know below!
 

Mommy Necklaces

 

  • This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products, I’ll receive a small commission.

Have you ever been frustrated about the fact that wearing anything pretty with a baby or toddler gets messy, or worse destroyed? I have been there many times! So many necklaces have been ripped off, bracelets broken, and jewelry chewed on.

When my daughter was 6 months, I finally gave up trying to look cute at all because I thought to myself, “Why bother? It will just get messed up anyways.” I also didn’t want her to be sucking on anything that could be harmful.

Then I found this wonderful company called Mommy Necklaces! These are meant for moms, grandmas, and daycare workers who work with little ones all the time. They are pretty and functional all in one. From nursing necklaces to teething necklaces, there is something for everyone.

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I love being a partner with this wonderful company! I am a raving fan when it comes to this product for SO MANY reasons!

And I promise you will never be bored with the selection! They come out with beautiful new necklaces and limited edition necklaces on a regular basis, so let’s just say I have a closet full!

There are several different styles to choose from depending on your needs and style.

Nursing Necklaces

I LOVE the Mommy Necklaces Nursing Necklace! My daughter and my son both loved to pull on my hair, grab onto my shirt and anything else that was in their reach. My Nursing Necklace has been a lifesaver when one of them wanted to lift up my shirt or rip off the blanket I was using to feed them in public because they had something to play with while they nursed. And look at how pretty it is! A little secret, I use this as a statement necklace with a solid shirt and jeans to dress up an otherwise boring outfit!

Teether Strands

I did not buy one of these until my son was born because I felt like it would look silly. I had seen so many teether necklaces that just looked weird being worn by a mom and then I finally tried this one and I love it! It is so pretty and I where it all the time. It is really nice now that my son is teething because I can have it on and he has a teether right there to sooth him while he is in the carrier or when I am holding him and trying to be at a play date for my daughter. No tears here!

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Dangling Donuts

Dangling Donuts are awesome for fiddlers and toddlers who like to steal your jewelry. My daughter ALWAYS has to have a necklace when I pull one out of my closet. She is a real fashionista when it comes to jewelry and since she wants to be like mommy, I have gotten rid of almost all of my pre-baby jewelry because I like these so much and they are baby and toddler safe.

 

 

 

Locked Donuts

I would call the Locked Donuts my fashionable necklace. They are different than anything that I normally wear, but they are a real eye catcher. I cannot tell you how often I get compliments about my necklace and everyone is always shocked to know it is a baby-safe Mommy Necklace!

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Short Strands

Short Strands are my favorite everyday necklace. They are great when I have little bit in the Ergo because he can play, but still not lay on it when he falls asleep. My daughter wears these ones all the time as well because what little girl doesn’t like copying Mommy?

Faceted Rock

I discovered this one as a surprise! Every once in a while Mommy Necklaces does a fun sale where you buy 4 necklaces for $40 and tell them the color for a special surprise in the mail! It was so fun to get such a pretty necklace in my set!

Flat Rock

This one was also a surprise for me. I usually don’t like big jewelry, but these Flat Rocks go with tons of things! I love how I can dress up a plain outfit with it and still not be too dressy!

img_20161003_175539Accessories

 

Who doesn’t like to match? Or just have more fun things to wear?! I love the options for accessories because I can get a matching bracelet with the same awesome clasp that my kids can pull on and not worry about a million beads flying everywhere or with a stretchy band.

 

If you have little ones or need a gift for a friend or relative having a baby this is a great place to get the perfect gift! So why not start your collection today? Click here to visit Mommy Necklaces LLC

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.

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!

 

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!

 

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!

 

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