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Infant - Month #36

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Teach Me to Read - Part 2 & Tantrums

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Child's Development

       This activity is designed to increase letter recognition specifically for the letter L.  In addition, it will assist your child with concepts of number recognition, understanding how letters are parts of words, writing skills, sentence structure, and reading comprehension as it pertains to listening, understanding, and recalling action through demonstration.  This activity can be modified for any letter of the alphabet for the purpose of reading and/or enhanced development of phonological processes.

  • "Practice Writing Ll printable"
  • Leaping Lizards printable
  • Scissors
  • Highlighter or yellow crayon
  • Stapler
  • Crayons
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Pencil
  • Sticky notes
  • Two sheets of blank paper - (I used 1.5x2" sticky notes and construction paper for the number mat.  The sticky notes fit perfectly both horizontally and vertically.)

  • Use the link above to print off Leaping Lizards and the writing practice sheet for the letter Ll.
  • Cut Leaping lizard pages apart and staple together in order so the staples are at the top of the book, not along the sides.  This way he can focus on just one picture at a time during the activity.
  • Tape two blank pages together along the 8.5 inch side to form one long rectangle.  Then divide the rectangle into ten sections using the marker to make nine vertical lines across the paper.  Two inches down from the top make a horizontal line across the paper. Label the sections from 1-10.
  • Write the following numbers on pieces of sticky notes; 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8.
  • Attach the pieces of sticky notes under their corresponding numbers on the number mat.

       Teachable Moments:
  • Show him the number mat with the attached sticky notes.  Ask him to find number one across the top.  Then help him point to each number as you count to ten.
  • Ask him to locate a specific number.  If he is not able to locate the number correctly, teach the strategy for starting back at number 1, counting, and pointing to each number as he says it out loud.  He should stop when he hears the number you initially asked him to find.  Do this several times until he gets confident in finding the numbers.  Point out the sticky notes.  Ask him to tell you how many 5's there are, etc.
  • Encourage him to practice making zips and zooms on the back side of the paper.  Help him hold his pencil using the correct form and discuss the idea of zips (like zippers that go up and down) and zooms (like a car zooming down a racetrack).  Take the discussion further by introducing circles.  Zips, zooms, and circles are the main strokes in creating alphabet letters.  Once he gets these strokes down, he will be well on his way to writing his name, copying words from picture books, and before you know it, he will be writing you precious notes.
  • Then trace the L's on the front side of the page.  Once his fine motor skills develop, he will be able to write smaller straighter lines.  For now, though, praise him for his efforts.
  • Begin with the cover of the book.  What is the book about?  What do you know about lizards?  What is another name for the word leaping (jumping)?
  • Take the highlighter and have him point out the L's on the page and count them.  Then direct him to the number mat to locate the number that represents the number of L's on the page.  Place the sticky note on the page.
  • Continue on to the first page of the story.  Look at the picture, read the sentence together, act out the sentence if possible, highlight the L's, and place the corresponding sticky note on the page.  As you continue through the book, encourage him to use the highlighter to reveal the letters.
  • Act out each page and add a sentence to the bottom of each page.  (For example, Ava is a big lizard.  Ava likes to jump.  Ava leaps over ladybugs.  Ava leaps over rice.  Ava laughs when she leaps. Ava jumps on Mommy.  Ava catches lightning bugs.  Mommy looks silly when she leaps.  Ava can't jump over lions either.  Ava can't jump over llamas either.  Ava is not a little lizard.  Ava is ready for lunch.  Ava eats lettuce and lemons.  Ava is silly, too.)
  • Culminate the activity by leaping like lizards to the table for "lunch" and "lemon"ade.  When he is finished, he may choose to color the pages of the story.


  From a Parent's Perspective
           My daughter has been seeing a speech therapist for the last six months.  There are many sounds she is still unable to enunciate clearly; however, she has a few years until mastery of some letters is expected.  For example, for the letter L she enunciates it as a /w/, so instead of "lollipop" she will say "wowwipop."  I attempt to give her as much practice and exposure to the L sound as I can through daily conversation.  I slow her down, model how to position her tongue in her mouth, as well as a few other suggestions given by the therapist.  In addition to the speech aspect, there are still four letters of the alphabet she has a hard time recalling. She knows the sounds and can give a word, but the actual names of four letters seem to give her a run for her money every time.  Once I was able to see the common thread between her speech and her letter recognition, I decided to seize the opportunity and maximize our learning time.  My plan is to continue this activity with the other three letters. Now that she understands the process for the activity, I look forward to seeing her leadership and confidence with the following letters blossom.  She is one that loves to "do it herself."  That is a trait she has inherited honestly!


  Parenting 411
           At some point in the child rearing process, a parent is bound to confront the nasty unwanted display of horrible behavior commonly referred to as a "temper tantrum."  Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to cast away the onset of an outburst nor is there even a good-behavior spell that will give your child a halo just before introducing him to your coworkers at the company picnic.  If you expect your child to behave in public, you must develop strategies in private.  Privately teaching your child how to handle his rush of emotions will improve communication skills between the two of you, give him a comfortable place to learn and practice the skills without being embarrassed by by-standers, and it will give him the opportunity later to feel in control of himself in public situations.  Children need to feel ownership.  If your child has tantrums, they are most likely over the issue of control.  He wants something he cannot have, he has a developed a sense of how things should unravel only to find out they have been altered without his input, and/or he does not want to relinquish something into someone else's control.  Investing some upfront time with your child (during a time when he is not having a meltdown) will help him understand what appropriate behavior is and how it should be exhibited.  The good news is that negative behavior can be corrected through the use of strategies like the ones mentioned below.   Patience is the name of the game.  If you lose yours, he will think it is okay to lose his.  If you find yourself losing your patience as all parents do at one point or another, show your child how you use these strategies to level  out your own emotions.

       Parenting Suggestions
  • Establish realistic consequences for inappropriate behavior and follow through!  If you are going to a family get together, don't tell him that he will not be able to go if he doesn't alter his behavior unless you will actually stay home if he decides not to.  Kids are smart and they will test your words...and use them against you later so don't give them the opportunity.
  • Refrain from power struggles - keep calm, confident, and consistent.
  • Don't play "if, then" games.  For example, "Bradley if I catch you doing that again, then you will go to time."  He will learn how to be sneaky and that he can always try something at least once.  Be firm now when he is young, so you don't struggle with issues when he is towering over you as a teenager.
  • Giving him until the count of five will only teach him to delay his reaction until five.  Simply have him repeat your directive back to you and look for action.  Any delay or unwillingness to comply should result in immediate "thinking time."  "Thinking time" is a better suited term than "time out."  Time out suggests that he can mentally and physically check out.  The purpose of "thinking time" is just that, to think.  It is a time to recall the wrong-doing, why it was inappropriate, and how his future actions should be altered.  Obviously, thinking time might be a little too complex depending on the developmental age of your child; however, it is never too early to guide your child through that thinking process. Eventually he will be able to perform the exercise himself.  (At our house we encourage our children with the phrase "You can think about how you are behaving now as you are playing and make a better choice, or you can go sit on the stairs for a while and think about it there."  The element of choice gives the child control over where he will do his thinking, but as parents we still get the result we desire without the fuss.)  If you send your child to "thinking time," make sure he understands what he did wrong or you will just be wasting time.  Make him repeat the offense back to you if he isn't throwing a gigantic fit and can still communicate.  Never send him to thinking time without communicating the fault.  Allow him to get up when he can express what he did wrong.
  • Discipline with little to NO emotion.  You can stress your disappointment without yelling and screaming.  Allow your child to hold the burden of the emotions.  His emotions will evoke more feeling and thinking within him than yours will.  The depth of your words should sink into him deeper than your tone.  He needs to learn to internalize his behavior in order to establish a sense of what is right and wrong for future interactions.
  • Redirect negative behavior.
  • Praise often for jobs well done...praise more than you criticize poor behavior
  • Parent with love and put yourself in his shoes.
  • Make the punishment fit the crime.  For example, when Les threw his bedtime water on his sister, he was not allowed to get more water to take bed. When he threw food across the dinner table at Ava, he had to clear the table, clean the floor, and clean Ava off after dinner.  He was forced to take responsibility for his actions and think about whether or not his actions were truly worthwhile.
  • Don't set yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations.   See "Your 33-month old."
  • Set up scenarios during playtime to foster an understanding of proper social interaction.  For example, explain the concept of sharing and that you are going to take something from him; he should gladly give it to you, and later you will return it back to him.  Rejoicing in his accomplishments during playtime will increase his willingness during the actual moment of truth.

       Strategies for dealing with strong emotions
  • Show him how to press the palms of his hands together into a prayer-like position.  This will encourage him to think about the pressure he is creating in his hands, help diminish the rush of emotions to his head, and keep his hands from flailing.
  • Have your child lift his arms into the air and take five deep breaths.  Each time he exhales he should lower his elbows down to his sides.
  • Encourage him to count slowly to ten before he reacts.
  • Create a simple phrase to be repeated during these intense times to help calm emotions.  Keep it short and sweet.  "I am happy.  I am smiling.  All is good!"


     Fun with Shapes, Sizes, and Stickers

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