At six months, your baby wants to know more about his world, and it is great fun to watch him explore and learn about how everything works. He will begin to sit on his own, crawl, creep and walk before you know it.  This is great time to go to thrift stores, consignment shops, etc. to find slightly used toys and clothes because your baby is going to outgrow them fast.   If you’ve finished nursing, it is wise to have a larger pool of people to help with child care and respite for yourself.  Make sure you leave babysitters with a “Good-to-Go Bag” with all of their favorite toys, foods, blankets, etc. (Refer to My Baby Compass, Birth to Two to know what to put in a “Good-to-Go Bag”).  This is also good time to introduce sign language to help with communication.  Pairing a sign with a word gives your baby a visual cue in addition to the sound of the word to increase his ability to understand language.  Here are some items to have in your nursery to boost child development during this time in your baby’s life:

  • Baby sign language classes, books, videos and even iPhone apps
  • Larger diapers, Kirklands (size 3) from Costco
  • Comfortable shoes, such as Robeez by Stride Rite, See Kai Run, and Pediped
  • Clothes you can layer for when baby is in the car or outside
  • Toy walkers and activity centers
  • Toys to challenge baby such as stacking blocks, balls, pop up toys and toys that require baby to interact with them to make sound or cause movement
  • Continue to introduce new solid foods (refer to past blogs about recommended foods) and check out www.weelicious.com for food ideas

In addition to these at-home activities, I encourage you to find out if your local library hosts a “story hour” for baby and toddlers.  You can also research music, swimming and play group classes for you and your toddler, but remember to not overschedule your toddler.   Babies can experience stress just like adults if overstimulated or overwhelmed.

Refer to My Baby Compass, Birth to Two for more ideas about toys and activates that would be most beneficial for your baby to increase his learning skills.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

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At four months, your bundle of joy is smiling and wanting to know a little more about the world around him.  He wants to reach and touch everything and also explore it with his mouth.  He is finally aware he has hands and feet.  He is not always sure what to do with them, but that is why he needs fun toys to challenge him.  Do not overindulge him with too many toys at one time.  Let him study and reach for the same toy over and over until he has figured it out.  Here are some things to have on hand in your nursery (and kitchen!) to encourage child development:

Refer to My Baby Compass, Birth to Two for more stimulating toys and developmental checklists to make sure baby is on target.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

During your baby’s first few months, he is beginning to realize that the world around him is growing.  At birth, he was only able to focus within the first two feet but soon he will be looking across the room.  He is awake more and wanting to look at your face and mouth more intently.  This is how he learns to speak.  Research has proven that babies need to look at mom and dad’s mouth and facial expressions in order to imitate and pair the mouth movements with sounds. Baby videos do not provide this three dimensional experience.  Yes, you are the most interesting thing your baby can do at this time.  Read, sing and make funny faces with baby.  Stick out your tongue, repeat sounds or nursery rhymes and have fun.  Baby will sense that communication and social turn-taking activities are fun.  Here are some other items you should keep in your nursery to encourage child development:

  • Halo Swaddle Me
  • Infant stimulating mobiles for changing table
  • Rattles for sound and touch stimulation
  • Soft stuffed animals and blankets with satin trim
  • Black and white pictures to study
  • Bouncy chair that features music and touch-activated light up objects
  • MiYim

    MiYim Organic Chicken Rattle

    Toys to suck on, such as MiYim organic chicken rattle

  • Baby mirror for floor time
  • Toys to grab or reach for such as keys and rattles
  • Small cardboard, washable or textured books with few words and big simple pictures
  • Nursery rhyme or simple song books to share with your baby
  • Soft blanket or fun mat to place on the floor for “tummy time”  (soft comfort toys or blankets may become a favorite, so it is smart to have duplicates so baby has one while the other is being washed)

So if you need more advice as to how to entertain your little one, refer to the child development program in My Baby Compass, Birth to Two.  Happy Baby Time!

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

The 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention was full of great ideas and products that speech-language pathologists, teachers and parents can use.  Many convention goers posted these new finds on Pinterest, a new social media platform that allows you to share your favorite things with friends.  I interviewed Heidi Kay, a partner in PediaStaff, to learn more about this interactive sharing tool.

What is Pinterest?

PediaStaff's Pinterest Page

Pinterest is a (free) visual pinboard and bookmarking site of the social networking variety.  I think it is best described as a virtual filing cabinet, but one you can see through!  Basically, it allows you to organize and share pages or photos that you find on the web with your friends and followers.   You “pin” these links to your own personal Pinterest site into “pinboards” that you create and organize in a way that’s meaningful to you.  Meanwhile, anyone you follow is sharing their finds with you so you might “re-pin” the great things they find.   The attraction is that it is SO visual.  Like most people, I never look at my bookmarks.  I will find something I want to save, it goes into a folder on my browser and I probably never see it again. This is an extremely intuitive system which is both easy to start and easy to keep using.

How do I get an account with Pinterest?

Pinterest is still a beta site.  To control growth, membership is by “invitation only.”  It is faster to get an invitation from someone who already has a Pinterest board.  Click here for our Pinterest site – you can request an invite from us there!

How did you learn about Pinterest and how can it help SLP’s?

We learned about Pinterest much the way most people are learning about it – through a friend.   Most people are pinning recipes, wedding and travel ideas.  My friend sent me an invite and I was looking through her boards and she had boards for “Books I want to Read” and “Recipes I Want to Try.”  Then I saw “Rainy Day Activities for Junior,” “Summer Practice” and  “Worksheets for Jane.”   That got me thinking about how great it would be to create a Pinterest site where pediatric and school-based  therapists could go to find all the therapy activities and ideas  they could possibly need.   

Why is your company interested in this site?

PediaStaff LogoOur company serves the pediatric and school-based therapy community (i.e., occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists), so that was our target audience.   Shortly after we started compiling the site, we heard that parents, special education teachers and regular classroom teachers were coming to it to find activities for their kiddos with both typical and special needs!   We never expected it, but are thrilled to be sharing ideas with so many different groups of people!

How does it work?

The best way to use our PediaStaff Pinterest site is to get an account and then follow our boards that most interest you.   “Re-pin” those you like onto pinboards on your own page.    You can even “like” your favorite pins for quick access later.  About once or twice a month we have been known to populate new boards with a whole lot of pins on one day to ensure a large variety of resources for new categories.   Some visitors prefer to visit our boards regularly or hand-pick certain boards to follow rather than subscribe to all our boards so they don’t get overwhelmed with notifications of all our new pins!

What do your pins look like and how many pins do you have?

Our pins cover a huge range of topics.  We have boards for specific focus areas for therapy, such as articulation, sensory and tactile, fine motor skills, literacy, etc.   We also have boards with all kinds of    holiday themes.   Pins include links to printable activities, crafts, blog posts of interest, interactive educational websites, videos and more.  We have almost 7,000 pins and almost 6,500 followers.   We follow about 30 different teacher and therapist blogs, who are also very active on Twitter.  In addition, we follow more than 8,000 pinners on Pinterest so we are putting up relevant content from all over the web daily.

Does the site have any glitches?

Well, because Pinterest is still in beta, there are organizational things the site could do better.   Many of our best pins were pinned early are buried deep in the individual boards.  Pinterest doesn’t yet let you prioritize what pins appear at the top of each board.   So my best advice is to grab yourself a latte and take your time looking through it, and Happy Pinning!

Thanks so much to Heidi for her time.  If you are looking for a position as an SLP contact Heidi at:

Heidi Kay, PediaStaff, Inc.
Ph: (866) 733-4278 ext 512
heidi@pediastaff.com

Be sure to follow PediaStaff on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or subscribe to their newsletter.

During your pregnancy, make sure you are taking your vitamins, eating healthy foods and exercising because you will need your strength those first few months when you have a new baby in the home. It’s also a good idea to set up a support system so you can take a break and have some quiet time to yourself once the baby is home.  Here is a list of things that will help during pregnancy and those first precious months:

Health

  • Vitamins and healthy diet
  • Use natural skin care products (don’t use nail polish or polish remover)
  • Have ginger ale, crackers and Yummi Earth organic lollipops for snacks
  • Tums for upset stomach
  • Decaffeinated teas
  • Body butter and body oil (Aveda is nice) for stretch marks
  • Lansinoh nipple cream and nursing pads
  • Kotex pads

Clothing

  • Bravado Body Silk seamless nursing bras
  • Compression stockings and heating pad for varicose veins
  • Maternity dresses
  • Slip on shoes
  • Comfortable clothes for nursing

Home

  • Use natural cleaning products for laundry and household
  • Have house cleaned and filters changed
  • Grocery shopping to hold you over for awhile
  • Stock pile baby diapers, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags

Love the information in this blog?  Purchase a copy of My Baby Compass, Birth to Two to know what to expect with your newborn and how to watch your baby learn from the time he is born.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

When you’re expecting, there are lots of items you’ll want to purchase and put on your baby registry to be sure you are prepared when your little one arrives. I’m not paid to promote products, but I wanted to share my list of my personal favorites.  Locate a good used baby store, but remember, there are some things you don’t want to buy used.

Nursery Furniture

  • A safe crib that hasn’t been recalled.  If you buy a used one, make sure it meets safety codes, including tight screws.
  • Graco SnugRide infant car seat and stroller
  • Kiddopotamus Snuzzler and rear mirrors
  • Place a heating pad under a changing table and purchase a wipe warmer.
  • Pack-n-Play for sleeping in different rooms/traveling
  • Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer
  • Boxes and tubs to pack outgrown clothes (can anyone say “hand-me-downs”?)
  • Comfortable chair with arm support while nursing – an overstuffed rocker works great!

Bath Products

Clothing

  • Longsleeve kimono tees w/fold –over cuffs
  • Infant gowns w/fold over cuffs
  • Longsleeve and shortsleeve onesies
  • Infant caps and socks
  • Bunting that works with the carseat
  • Footed sleepers
  • Lots of swaddling blankets, receiving blankets
  • Thick prefolded diapers for burp rags
  • Halo Swaddle Me, or other swaddling blankets

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

Bringing home your bundle of joy is an exciting new adventure.  During your pregnancy, I recommend learning about baby care, your needs, normal development and more.   Here are a few resources that will help you in the early phase of your parenting journey:

  • Baby Bargains – This book is full of helpful cost-saving ideas!
  • My Baby Compass, Birth to Two –  Available on Amazon.com, this comprehensive parenting manual details your baby’s developmental milestones along with activities to enhance your child’s developmental skills.
  • On Becoming Baby Wise – Perfect for parents who want a schedule to follow and a structured theoretical approach to caregiving.
  • Last Child in the Woods – Looking for ways to teach your child about nature and involve in him outdoor activities?  Then you’ll love this book –
  • Super Baby Food A must-read before introducing your little one to solid foods!

What were your first parenting challenges and what books helped you prepare for an infant?  Leave a comment below and check my next blog on preparing the nursery!

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series