I feel like I’m starting to get into the swing of the blogging world. It’s a bit overwhelming and it’s like learning a new language but I’m getting there. Lots of kind friends have been really supportive and are giving me lots of tips. Thanks guys!
Whilst chatting to my family and friends they have helped me reflect on things I do that other people may find useful. One thing in particular that keeps being mentioned is how much I talk to Lexi. In particular, how I tell her exactly what we are doing either just before or as we do it. I keep my sentences short and sharp as well to help her understand.
Talking out loud with Lexi took a little while (see previous blog: Talk out loud). Talking out loud in general is one thing, but there are times when it is more important to talk out loud to help your baby understand what is going to happen. This was highlighted to me one swimming lesson we attended. We had been going for a couple of weeks and our swimming instructor (Michelle) told us we were going to help our babies go under water for the first time. She demonstrated it to us beautifully and then it was our turn. To start with I copied her exactly and we managed it no problem. Then as I became more confident I started to forget little things… like warning Lexi she was about to go under water. I just didn’t think. She was so tiny, surely if she didn’t understand, what was the point? I was wrong, very wrong! Luckily Michelle noticed I hadn’t warned Lexi and quickly helped me out and put me back on the right path. I now warn Lexi about everything we do. If I can I try and show her visually by using my hands (e.g. show her going under the water or pointing to where we are going to swim) and I tell her out loud. We also count to 3 and show the babies our fingers as we count before they jump in to help prepare them .
It is so easy to rush and get caught up in life and forget to tell Lexi what is happening but the more I do it the easier it feels to do.
I try and put myself in her shoes. Yes I would absolutely love it if someone picked me up, put me in a chair and gave me food (who wouldn’t!). But would I like it so much if I was enjoying a bath and someone suddenly started chucking water over my head? Giving me some clues that it was about to happen would help. For example telling me “wash hair/head” or pouring the water up my back and then over my head would help me anticipate what was about to happen. Anticipating is another skill that is acquired before speech. (There is an awful lot of work babies have to do before their first words at 12ish months!!)
I now pre-warn Lexi in all aspects of our day. Every time we bend down to pick something up I might say ” down we go”, “pick up the glove”, ” up we go“. Every time I am about to give her food. “lunch time”, “in your chair”, “sitting down“.
Lexi is now starting to show she understands some of the things I repeat a lot showing that it was definitely worth it. By pre-warning her she is more in control, more confident and more of an equal.
There are lots of games Lexi and I play to help with her anticipation skills. This week I will try and get some video clips of them and then I will share them with you in my next blog post Top 5 ways to encourage Anticipation skills. (Do you like what I did there… I pre warned you what I was going to do next…. hehe).
[If you do live in Norwich and are interested in swimming I highly recommend Norfolk Ducklings http://norfolkducklings.co.uk/. Michelle is an excellent teacher and helps you feel confident in the water. There is also a great coffee shop next door where you can treat yourself to delicious scones after your ‘workout’ and you can feed your babies before you head home :). http://www.mangreen.co.uk/ ]