Such a Turn-Off

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I’ve always been a kind of “everything in moderation” Mom, so what I am about to say may shock you.

A couple of months ago, I stopped letting Jonah watch TV. Like, at all. For awhile previously I had him down to one show a day, and used that mostly as a reward for potty training. But soon I realized even that was too much. Even though he was only allowed to watch one a day, he obsessed over that one show, and he talked about it all day long. He has a really good memory, and he’d memorize parts of shows and walk around reciting those parts instead of talking and interacting with me and our family.

For a language-delayed kid, this is just not healthy.

So, we pulled the plug. We knew it would be hard, and it was, at first. But it wasn’t hard for very long. I was surprised at how soon he just stopped asking to watch. I was also surprised at how soon we saw an improvement in his language. Very, very soon we were able to see that we’d made the right decision. After a couple weeks, Jonah stopped talking about his shows and started talking about the world around him. Instead of re-living scenes from a Leap Frog adventure, he reminisces about our special “Mommy-Jonah” speech time we have together every day, or about what happened at school. And he observes and comments more on what’s happening around him as it’s happening.

It’s been kind of a bummer for the big kids never to be able to watch TV or play Wii upstairs in our living room, so we created a play area for them in the basement where they can do those things (on designated days). When Jonah’s older and past his delays, we’ll all be able to do those activities together again one day, and I hope then we can keep it moderated.

Because now, honestly? It’s really nice. Sure there are some days when I have a TON of work to do and I WISH I could just plop Jonah down in front of Netflix and buckle down, but the truth is, and I have SEEN this with my own eyes, that even doing that once in awhile is not ok for Jonah. Whatever work I have to do, or think I have to do, what’s best for him is vitally more important. And so I work around the inconvenience of not having a digital babysitter. I make it work. I stay up later, work in small spurts instead of one nice big chunk if I have to, and I hustle hustle hustle when he is at school. I make it work. We make it work as a family.

Bobby was more hesitant at first, he said to me, “I feel like we are taking away everything he likes.” (Because some other things that had a screen, even electronic kids books on kindle or an app, were also a problem). And he was right. But even he agrees that we immediately saw results – and now Jonah has NEW favorite things that are better for him.

I certainly don’t think screens are evil – like I said, my big kids still use them. But I don’t think they are good for kids with language delays, and I DO think they are probably used too much among kids under 5 today.

I wanted to share this with you because this is working for us. It was a hard decision to make, but I am SO glad we did. Jonah still watches a movie with us when we have family movie night, but other than that, he doesn’t watch TV at all. And it’s pretty great!

So, if this is a decision you’re mulling over in your house, I encourage you to commit to it and give it a try. It may not be what’s right for every kid, but it sure was the right thing for ours!

Have you ever done a no TV experiment? What were the results in your house?

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Big boy steps

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Yesterday Bobby and I made a big decision for Jonah. We decided that in January, shortly after he turns 3, he will go to preschool. It’s a decision that I am all kinds of mixed up about. He is currently receiving developmental services through our county’s arm of Help Me Grow; however, they kick you out of that when you turn three. And they start the transition process to the local schools fairly early so everyone has plenty of time to get ready for the next step.

So, about three weeks ago, Jonah was evaluated by a team of professionals from our local school district, and yesterday we got their results. They agreed with us that he is speech-language delayed and that he qualifies for services. He could either get services once a week at home one-on-one or go into a classroom where he’d be taught by and Intervention Specialist and receive speech once a week from a Speech Language Pathologist. Because we are able to get him into the same school and the same classroom with the same teachers that Sophie had, we opted for school. Starting in January, just three weeks after he turns three, my baby will be going to preschool 4 mornings a week!

I really cannot believe it. Part of me feels very nervous about sending him out the door 4 days a week at such a young age. Honestly, if I would not have been able to get him in that classroom, I might have opted for the home intervention. But I LOVED Sophie’s teachers and I feel genuinely happy that Jonah will get to be with them. And also? Jonah needs some FRIENDS. Not many of my friends kept having babies when I did, and Jonah has not had a ton of opportunity to interact with peers. He really, really, really needs that social experience and I think it’s going to do wonders for his speech.

Now, I have 3 months to get him to be cooperative in a classroom setting. Yikes! That is what I’m most worried about. He has class for one hour at Help Me Grow, and he does not like to go with the flow. He likes to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. But, he’s only been in the classroom setting 4 times so far, and one hour a week makes it hard for him to adjust. Twelve hours a week of preschool I think he’ll catch on to much more quickly. I’m praying fer-vent-ly that he does!!

In addition to all this, he’s still seeing his private speech therapist once a week and he’s doing really well with her. And, he’s doing great at home. He’s really starting to let the 3-and-4-word phrases slip out a lot now. He has made some great progress, but he still has a long way to go.

Thus, preschool!

I’m usually the mom who’s thrilled to kick her kids out the door to school, but I think this is going to be hard on me. I’m not ready to let my baby go out that door yet! I think I’ll be crying for a few weeks and nervous for a few more.

In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the moments I still have with him at home, and keep working with him on his speech. I sure am proud of my sweet little guy!

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My Toddler Talks: Review & Giveaway

This is a book review, y’all. The book was provided to me by the author but all opinions are my own!

As toddlers will do, Jonah has recently switched things up on me when it comes to speech. Remember that post I wrote a few weeks ago about us getting into our therapy groove? Yeah, 2.2 seconds after I hit publish, he decided to stop cooperating with me at home! I’m not. even. kidding. Not even a little. He is still doing great at his therapy sessions, but as soon as I strap him in his booster seat at home he kicks up a fuss. So, I got him a (free, thanks Sarah!!) little table to sit at like he does at speech – that worked for a day or two. But he still wasn’t having it once he realized what I was up to.

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No,YOUR house is a giant mess in the background of this photo! Mine is always perfect.

He still loves to sit at to do his OWN thing, however, and I’m glad we have it! I also casually leave things on it that I want him to play with and that usually works {insert diabolical laugh}.

So, frustrated with this situation, I did what most moms do – turned to the internet (specifically Pinterest, DUH) for a solution. I follow the boards of an awesome organization called PediaStaff (you should too) and through their boards I found a great website that caused me to breathe a sigh of relief – Scanlon Speech Therapy. As I was devouring the contents of this site, I found that it is written by a Speech-Language Pathologist named Kim Scanlon who is herself the mother of a toddler – jackpot! I subscribed to her newsletter and printed out some of her free resources. Then, I checked out her book:

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My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development.

And of course I knew I had to have it!! So naturally, I emailed Kim and asked if I could review a copy. Cause THAT is how I roll. You see, part of the problem we moms face when we work with our kids at home on delays is: WHAT TO DO!! It’s hard to constantly come up with new activities. And since Jonah is a whole year younger than Sophie was when we started working together, it’s totally different, and I need some help coming up with things.

My Toddler Talks has a TON of play ideas for working with your toddler. Like, about 50 pages worth. And the best part is, they are all using toys you probably already have! Like? A BALL. A Mr. Potato Head. Toy trains. A toy farm. Bubbles!!! Yes! I have all those things! And Kim’s book told me just what to do with them to encourage speech in my kiddo. All the activities are simple, step-by-step, and easy for parents to facilitate. She also has a website JUST for toddler & baby speech in addition to her Scanlon Speech site. Check it out here!

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Jonah meets one Mr. P. Head.

Of course, the book isn’t all about play – it also goes over the basics of how to talk to your toddler to encourage speech, and what activities and language are appropriate for their ages/stages of development. Very useful stuff for any parent. In fact, the book is really written for parents who want to encourage even very young toddlers on the path to speech development – not necessarily toddlers who are already behind (though of course that is the case with mine). So, I would really recommend it for any parent of an infant to three-year-old, delayed or not.

This is a great book and you should totally go buy it. And subscribe to Kim’s newsletter while you’re at it.

Because Kim is so aweeeeesome, she also offered a copy of My Toddler Talks to give away! Woop woop! Here’s how to enter:

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win the book.

2) Optional: extra entry available for those who “like” Scanlon Speech on Facebook. Leave a separate comment to let me know that you do.

3) Optional: extra entry for subscribing to Kim’s newsletter. (Click here, enter your name and email address on the right.) It’s SO HELPFUL! You won’t regret it. Leave a separate comment here if you subscribed.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry! 

Giveaway ends Monday September 16th at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck! Thanks Kim, for letting me review your book and give one away!

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