Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Small Fry, Big Mind!!

I've been working on this post for some time now. Just never had a chance to gather all the stuff I needed to deliver all the ideas, techniques and materials I use when teaching Kieran. Before I begin this post please remember my blogs are just small thoughts, ideas and experiences that worked for us. Never compare your child to mine as every child will learn differently and at their own pace. Also, keep in my I am a work at home mom so yes I have plenty of time to spend working on things with Kieran versus families who work outside of the home. So please please don't use our time frame as when your child should master or complete something. Use it as a guideline. As a reminder that ANY child can learn anything we expose them too. A child's mind is growing everyday, they can retain anything we teach them. I don't believe anyone is took young or too small. Just like us adults we can do anything we set our minds to.

Scientific research has shown that the development of a young child’s brain improves in a rich playing and learning environment. Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction. A rich learning environment stimulates the child’s brain and challenges the different areas and functions of the brain. A child, experiencing at a young age how to combine different skills and talents, will store these learning experiences forever.


Sure my home is a daycare. But I swear it was a daycare before the daycare even opened. We actually decided to open the daycare when my husband and mom agreed that our home was set up as a daycare! Sure I want a modern, fancy and clean home. But I settled for a classroom. Environment plays a major role in our children's lives. What we expose them to is what they will learn. On all the walls in my living room I have different colored posters. Most of you know Kieran mastered colors by 15 months. Sure table top time played a huge part but what he saw daily was what helped him retain it. Throughout the day we would play games like racing to the color blue, I spy something red, or whoever can find the color green first wins a treat. I move the posters around to make sure he actually knows the colors and doesn't just memorize it. (Huge difference, more about memorizing versus actually knowing later). 











My number one suggestion, make your child's environment there WORLD. Don't worry you'll have a modern home one day. But for now throw some colors, babyproof what's needed and let them explore! 

TABLE TOP TIME aka "WORK"

4 MONTHS

Table top time is what most of you wanted to learn more about. I started table top at 4 months when Kieran was able to sit up in his bumbo chair or high chair. 4 months am I insane!?!?!  Yes! 4 months! His activities then were very simple. We banged on pots, worked on clapping, played peek a boo, banged on instruments and worked on grasping.  He loved looking at a photo book of his family. All very appropriate for their age. My main activity at that age was"put in" I used a bucket with shapes and had him put the items in the bucket. Hey that's a lot of work for a 4 month old. Their mind needs to grasp the object then move it over the bucket and let go! 

He didn't sit in the bumbo for more than 5-7 min  as he was just learning to sit and sitting for a long period of time is not good for them. You know your baby listen to them and encourage the. Don't ever push them. Table top time should be a positive experience. 

Who said table top has to be all about mastering an activity?!?! When Kieran was younger I used to give him tons of chew toys and sensory toys to explore with. It may not seem like anything, but they are learning a lot from this. They are learning all about different textures! 








6-12 MONTHS TABLE TOP

By 6 months my little man was very aware of the world around him. I did table top with him three times a day for 5-7 minutes. Our task was stacking rings onto a cone. It was very frustrating for him at first but with the constant praise and cheering he mastered it after a few months of practicing. He loved the tickles and attention he got he could careless about the fact he stacked all the rings. The key to success in these activities is YOU. Your praise, support and cheers is the reason they are even doing this. 


By 10.5 months Kieran mastered the stacking rings without my assistance. He used to have trouble with the cone moving around. 

Below is the video of him stacking. And it's the reason why I choose to do table top instead of working on the floor. You see he gets distracted and wants to crawl away. Table top gives them focus and they learn to understand that during this time I need to work on something. 

video


Kieran is now 21 months and he understand when I say table top time it means he has to do a little work. He's registered this time is important and we do activities together. You're training not only your child, but you're training yourself. Eventually our little babes will go off to grade school and they will come home with homework. And as parents we should be there during homework time supporting, encouraging and help them. So start now, I know some of you have 8-5pm jobs but it's good to find a time now as to when you can sit and work with your child or simply just talk to them. 
We all live such busy lives. And as or children get older they will be less dependent on us. It's important we build the bond NOW, in hopes they always stay close and when they get picked up from grade school they don't give you one word answers like FINE or GOOD.
  
So sit with your husband, boyfriend or partner and find the time NOW to have bonding time with your little ones. Meaning no cellphones or TV. Just play! 



So don't put your little one on a bumbo/highchair and leave them with an activity. Instead sit there. Support them. Cheer. Give tons of tickles. This is about bonding not seeing

During this time Kieran was very into books. I chose tons of board books you can easily buy at Amazon.com I recommend interactive ones that have touch and feels or flaps they can open.  I also love books that have actions. 




12-15 MONTHS

By 12 months Kieran showed a strong interest in colors. It was so funny. He used to just point at everything and say it was blue. So I jumped the wagon and got everything I needed to teach him colors. We also graduated to a booster seat for table top time by the time has was about 11 months. 

The seat is made by fisher price. You can purchase from diapers.com for $23 (link below)



I started teaching him colors using these colored cups and counting bears. You can purchase them from Amazon (link below) for about $7



At 12 months I started with 1 cup and 5 bears. We started with just "put in" I had him put all the bears in the cup. "Blue bear in blue cup" Language plays a huge role so you must sit with them and just keep repeating "blue bear in blue cup". we also played fun games like hiding the blue bear under the blue cup. And I would ask him to find it. Repetition is everything. We did this for a week. 

The following week I added a "distracter cup" I threw in a red cup. And kept asking him to put the blue bears in the blue cup (i only gave him 5 blue bears). He kept trying to put the blue bears in the red cup at first and I would say "try again". By the end of the second week he finally figured out that the blue bears go in the blue cup. 

The third week I added the red bears. He now has two colored cups 5 blue bears and 5 red bears. He knows that the blue ones go in the blue cup. So it made sense the red one go in the red cup. I just needed to give him the language. "red bears in red cup".

Add colors when you think you're child is ready. Don't rush. Be patient.

Again every child will master the skills on their own pace. If it takes a month that is totally fine. As long as your trying, praising and giving them the opportunity to learn new things then that's all that matters. 

Kieran mastered all 5 colors  by 15 months. He caught himself when he made a mistake and he would correct it. 

Remember to keep the language simple. Be repetitive. NEVER say NO. Instead say 'TRY AGAIN". PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. Jumping for joy and be as loud as a marching band. Kieran does a lot of things just to see his mommy jump and act silly. Praise is everything.

15-21 MONTHS

Kieran still had a strong interest for colors. Where ever we go we are constantly naming all the different colors we see. Green tree, white truck, blue sky, etc. The best classroom is right outside your front door. Take a stroll down your street and go to the same flower, house, steps every single time you go for a walk. Name those objects and colors every time you're out. They have a strong memory. And they will memorize everything. 

Kieran remembers the house across the street has red strawberries in their garden, that the house 5 houses down is blue and the house at the end has a lion statue. Take the same path and label the same objects. It's a great way to work on language and colors! 

Be repetitive! 

Kieran sorting colors at the lego store

Below are jumbo pegs great fine motor skills and great for teaching colors. 



The stacking shakes by Melissa and Doug are a little more advance so I don't recommend it until they can distinguish colors a little bit. Just like counting bears don't give all the shapes at once. You can offer one color of each. 



I've been bringing back the shape sorter bucket every now and then. Kieran still has no interest and patience for it. I'm pretty positive he can sort shapes but he has no interest in trying. He loves puzzles and colors. But cannot stand this toy! So like I said don't force it. Take their lead. Find what they are interested and focus on that. Kieran will eventually learn to do the shape sorter but just not now. And I am OK with that. 


You can all kinds of activities at table top. We love to go through flashcards, photo albums, books, stack blocks, sort fruits and so much more. Be creative and do what your child enjoys. 

Remember what I said about making your home a learning place your little one. You can make any time or place a learning opportunity. Kieran recently showed interest in learning about states and the solar system. Partly because he loves planes and he knows riding a plane or space shuttle takes us to all these wonderful places. 

Below are place mats of the 50 states and our solar system. He looks at them during every meal and i like to hang them on the wall or put them on his play table. I'm exposing him and feeding his curious mind. You can do this with anything you're child is interested in.



One last idea I like to share is how we read books. I read Kieran the same book every night. Now at 21 months old he memorizes about 4 books. It may seem like he's reading it but really he just memorizes it. He can finish a few words of every sentence on each page of Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire. He's memorized word for word Goodnight Moon which I've been reading to him since he was born. 

A child's mind is so amazing! They know so much more than we think. They can retain anything as long as we expose them to it. 

The brain contains some 100 billion neurons and that the neurons are joined together via an estimated quadrillion connections. It’s through those links that the brain does the remarkable work of learning and storing memory. By the age of 3, a baby’s brain has reached almost 90 percent of its adult size. The growth in each region of the brain largely depends on receiving stimulation, which spurs activity in that region. This stimulation provides the foundation for learning. Everything a child learns and experiences at a young age is transformed in the child’s brain into connections between brain cells. These connections are decisive for the functions the brain can perform later.







Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just keep on swimming!

Swimming is my genes. I come from a family that has so much love and passion for swimming. Kieran first started swimming lessons the day after his 2 months newborn shots! I was so eager to get him in and turn him into a fish!
Isn't that too young?? Heck no! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent among young children age 1-4, who are at greatest risk of drowning.

Before the age of 6 months infants have a dive reflex. When someone blows in their face they will open their eyes and hold their breath when submerged. It's amazing! By the time Kieran was 6 months he didn't need the blow anymore. He knew that after I counted to three I would submerge him. 




Now at 20 months old, Kieran can swim 6 feet face down from an island to the stairs. He can sit jump off the wall and do a small turn around back to the wall. Amazing what kids can do when given the chance to learn! 


video


If you haven't tried swimming with your little ones, I really suggest you do. I know most communities have a recreation pool that is affordable. And most private swim lessons have free trials. Give it a try! The parent and baby classes are a fun way to bond with your little one.

Most parents like to wait until they are old enough so sit through a class by themselves. From experience I wouldn't suggest it. When I was 16 I worked at a swim school for about 4 years. The kids who started as a novice swimmer at 3 years old were fearful and since they were able to communicate they were very stubborn when it came to submerging or moving away from the stairs. During my time as a swim teacher I remember most of my students who started in a parent and me class graduated within 4-5 years. At 5 most went off to join swim teams. Amazing right!!

video


I hope Kieran will love swimming and is passionate about it when he gets older.  I regret rebelling against my parents and quitting on swimming when I reached high school. Who knows maybe I'm raising the next Michael Phelps! A mama can hope right!! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MINE!! NO!!

I had originally planned on writing a blog today about Heursistic Play, but "MINE and NO" was mentioned a few times. First off, thank you all for showing you're love and appreciation. I am so excited! Second, remember I'm a first time parent like most of you. I am still learning, educating myself and adjusting to the fact that I have a TODDLER! So your thoughts, ideas and suggestions will help me as well. I don't have all the answers, what I'm sharing with you are my experiences with Kieran.

At 20 months Kieran knows the power of "MINE" and "NO". Some of you know that I own a family daycare. I have 9 kids total and 2 assistants. Can you imagine what Kieran feels everyday with all these kids in his space!?!?

By the times Kieran was 18 months he started getting fed up with all these people coming into our home, taking his toys and getting in his space. I don't blame him, I would be annoyed as heck too!

So my husband and I sat down and brainstormed the best way to approach this. We came up with the "MINE BOX" or "TREASURE BOX". We went out bought Kieran a toy chest and lunchbox. We bought him a few new toys and put them all in his box and lunch box. We explained to him that these were special toys, just for Kieran! He didn't fully understand the concept then but he understood the word "MINE".


I started role playing with him. I took his toy and said MINE! He would yell "back" (give it back)! "MINE"! My goal here was to teach him the words mine and give it back. Once we got that mastered we went upstairs to all his SHARE toys. I would play with him and while playing I kept saying these are "share toys". I needed him to differentiate what were his and what were share toys.

I guess this case is different for everyone. Some kids go to daycare and they will grab toys. If I was in that situation I would have a special lunch box for Kieran that he gets whenever I pick him up. The goal is for them to recognize what are share items and what are "MINE"! It's ok to be selfish and have MINE toys. It's better they have that then having to share everything and constantly grabbing at whatever they want.


Like any other behavior we have to teach them everything. We have to compromise and be fair. Also keep in mind the MINE stage is a phase that will pass. We can't prevent it or stop it, but we can shape it.  It will not always work but it will give them a sense of power.  Let them have some control sometimes.

We are still at the MINE stage and working on it daily. Throughout the say I offer Kieran time to play with his MINE box, space for himself. This so far is working for us. Give it a try!

NO, is a very powerful word! And in my home it is ONLY used when something is absolute NO! We don't want NO to lose it's true powerful meaning so we are careful not to use it. I taught Kieran to use the word STOP when kids are pushing or grabbing from him. Which is more appropriate, since what he wants them to so is to stop bothering him.

NO, is used when he tries to touch the oven, tries to run off the sidewalk, etc. Basically we only use it when he is being unsafe. I know it's hard not to say NO, were are human beings and it's an automatic word that pops out of our mouths when our little ones are running like mad mans. Try your best to refrain from it, as mentioned in the first blog try SHOWING THEM WHAT TO DO VERSUS WHAT NOT TO DO.

Remember just like us adults, we have things we're selfish about and don't like sharing. So give your little ones that same opportunity.



Lastly, one huge detail I nearly forgot to mention. DON'T EVER EVER grab or take away things from your child. You grab they will grab! They learn from what we do right?! With Kieran we count and frontload him with everything! For example, Kieran has a toy a friend wants to play with. I tell him Kieran after I count to 10 we are going to give our friend a turn. And I sit there going back and forth counting for both kids while they take turns.

Same goes with taking something from him. Or moving on to another activity. Kieran loves holding onto his sippy cup, I don't ever take it from him without letting him know what I'm planning on doing. If I do that I am asking for a melt down! Who likes things being taken from them without being warned?!?! Planning, frontloading and counting will makes a huge difference in Kieran's behavior. About 98% of the Kieran will give up the item happily and do what I ask of him.

P.S. not only are you working on behavior by doing this, but your also teaching him to count! Only 20 months and Kieran can count to 5! So give it a try Mama's, I know it takes a lot of time and energy. But I promise you it will make a huge difference!

Things I count for: (saying 5 more minutes or giving a time like that makes no sense, but counting they can understand if you keep at it)

  • When it's time to leave
  • Before changing clothes or diaper
  • Bath time
  • Turning off the lights for bed
  • Sharing
  • Turning off a movie
Basically anything that can trigger a melt down I plan ahead, give him time and then follow through.








Asking versus Telling....

Kieran is 20 months old. His mission in life right now is to test every water, climb every step and run up and down every aisle! When it comes to stoping him or correcting him I am very careful how I approach it. The first thing I do when I catch Kieran doing something he's not suppose to do I quickly observe, is he doing it for attention or is he doing it because he's interested and wants to explore?


How can you tell? For me when Kieran is doing something for attention he gets whiny, loud and may even throw something. When he's testing his limits or exploring you can see him make a little cheeky smile, like "wow I just did that" kind of look. I try my best not to discourage him from exploring and I make sure he is safe when doing so.


The attention behaviors are very tricky! I am very careful with how I approach this. If you laugh oh best believe they will do it again! Been there and paid the price! To get a rise out of me Kieran will climb on top of his train table and start jumping. He knows better but he will do it just for the heck of it. So what do I do?!?!

Easy, I simply walk over take him off and say "feet on the ground please" and walk away. I then find something he enjoys doing like playing basketball. I start shooting hoops yelling and cheering hoping he would come over and join me. Not a second later he's at my side yelling "wow" "! yah"!

Did you guys just see what I just did!?! I did not put any attention in the unwanted behavior. I got him off the table. Spoke to him nicely and redirected him to something more appropriate! SWEET! Eazzyy peezyyy right?!?! Now you guys give that a try!

Does he go back on the table again? Sure he does everyday! And everyday I do the exact same thing. That's toddler life!

Now that Kieran's a bit older and understands me very well. I try to give him the chance to listen. So I catch him on the table again. I ask him "Kieran feet on the ground please" versus "No Kieran don't do that"! See the difference. Ask yourself as an adult which are you likely to respond better to?

Language is everything when shaping behavior and redirecting is the key to success, along with tons of praise and cheering!! After asking Kieran to put his feet on the ground I remind him "train table is for driving trains" and I show him what to do. Afterwards I walk him over to his play structure and tell him "we climb here". Once he starts climbing his play structure I start cheering and praising him for keeping his feet off the train table and for doing such a great job climbing his play structure. Whooooo!


Toddlers hate the word NO just as much as we do. Instead of saying NO to everything guide them to where they can jump or run. Instead of saying "No balls in the house" try "balls are outside toys".

I've learned that Kieran is so much happier when he is pointed to the direction where he is allowed to do what he wants. Never say No and leave them hanging. Explain. Redirect. Praise.

SHOW THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO RATHER THAN TELLING THEM WHAT NOT TO DO....

With Kieran PRAISE is everything! When the unwanted behavior is not around I am constantly praising him. I spend all day cheering and giving him high fives for being following the rules, listening and being nice. This is POSITIVE ATTENTION. The more you do this the less you'll get unwanted behaviors.



Monday, September 16, 2013

It was bound to happen....

This was so bound to happen.....



First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Janine Dulce-Asis also known as Mykieranbaby on instagram. I'm 26 years old. I'm a work at home mom. Wasn't exactly my plan but this is life as we know it. Before having Kieran life was all about school, work, sleep, eat, school in that order. Nothing was slowing me down I had so much passion in what I did. I wanted to make a difference in life. More than anything I wanted to make life easier for children with autism.

I majored in Psychology. The original plan was to go into research. But I loved being on the floor so much I couldn't stand being behind books all day. My focus was on behavioral therapy also known as applied behavioral analyst. What we do is we teach behavior. Children with autism learn differently. They need us to teach them what sad feels like, or when to be happy.

My passion all began when I was 19. I started nannying for a family with twin boys they just turned 3 when I first met them. When we first met they didn't say a word. They spent a lot of time looking out the windows or being fixated on a certain object. My job was simple then, drive them to therapy, engage them in appropriate play and talk to them. At the time I had no idea who I was going to be. But I fell in love with them. Everyday I went to work determined to find a way to break through to get them to say hello. After  6 months working for the family. I was packing up to leave for the night and one of the boys ran to the door and hugged me goodbye! My heart dropped. Tears fell down my face. And I didn't want to let go. These boys rarely touched anyone. And even the softest touch would trigger a melt down. But there I was standing at the door holding this sweet sweet boy who finally recognized me. He finally saw me! From that day on I knew exactly what I wanted to in my life!

In the mornings I worked at an early intervention school for toddlers just being diagnosed, afternoon I would nanny, then late afternoon I did 1:1 therapy in homes and at night I went to school. Talk about life right!?! But I wanted this. I nannied for those boys for 7 years. I couldn't let go and I hated they were outgrowing me. They've become so independent and I am proud to say they are in mainstream elementary school. Two very social bees and at the top of there class! After Kieran was born I tried to work for them part time, but I just couldn't do it. I loved them so much but I also wanted to give Kieran the same love and attention I've been giving them all these years.

Kieran became my life. I decided to put down the big goals for awhile and dedicate my life to raising an intelligent, well mannered boy. Today I still continue to apply my work everyday with Kieran. I believe and stand by that their is NO SUCH THING AS TERRIBLE TWO's. Behavior can be shaped, molded and learned.


So this is where this blog comes in play. I miss my work. And I miss being able to share my experience. My goal here with you is to share my approach in raising Kieran. I hope I can give you all some knowledge and ideas on how to approach behavior.

Along with that, I would love to share our day to day. And hey I promise I'll post some outfit of the day blogs. But more than anything I want to reach out to you guys deeper.

I hope I did ok for my first blog. This is all pretty new to me. And please bare with me I will work on my grammar. It's been awhile.....