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Special NeedsStrategies for Parents of Infant and Toddlers to Prepare for the Upcoming...

Strategies for Parents of Infant and Toddlers to Prepare for the Upcoming School Year – Parenting Special Needs Magazine

[K-12+ Beyond]

Summer is a time to slow down, kick back and lean into all that summer family fun. As a parent, I know you’re thinking, “slow down …hey, no such thing. I’m already stressing about how to get my kiddo ready for daycare or preschool.” Relax, we got you, because with Early Steps as your coach, did you know you can do both?

Because we offer a system of early intervention services for families with infants and toddlers, aged zero to three, who either have a diagnosed disability or whose parents are concerned that there is suspected developmental delay, or developmental milestones that are not being met.

But who says that learning can’t be fun. Here at Early Steps, it is our philosophy that children learn best when it is seamlessly embedded into their simple everyday activities. Like singing and playing peek-a boo while you diaper your baby, or reading stories as they settle for a nap. Because reading and singing and smiling builds upon their social emotional and language learning. So without any special effort, by simply parenting, already you and your baby or toddler are doing a ton of learning together.

And this summer will be no different. Learning shouldn’t be a chore, not for you or your child, because if you are not enjoying it, chances are they won’t either. So find a few things on the list below that you and your child like doing. If you are an outdoors person, then look at things to do outdoors, like gardening or water play ideas. Just remember please to stay present and safe around water, keep hydrated and safe from the sun.

Now if you prefer the great indoors, and all that cool air-conditioning, you too can have loads of fun with your child as they learn. It is true children learn best when they use their whole body and all their senses. So hold your child as you boogie down to your favorite songs. Did you know that spinning teaches your baby and toddler how to manage and coordinate their bodies? We sure did, and it’s said to improve their focus and concentration once they are old enough for a classroom. Who knew that spinning was preparation for pre-school? So this Summer, toss out stuffy learning, go have fun together as a family, and re-discover your inner child, as you and your child play and learn on your Early Steps adventure together.

0-12 Months:

• Go on a nature walk in your neighborhood so baby can explore all the sounds and sights that surround you.

• Grab a baking tray and let baby splash a couple toys around inside during tummy time.

• Let baby have a “car wash” indoors. Just grab a bin, toy cars, and fill with baby-safe soap and water

• Melt some colorful ice with baby using the heat of the sun.

12-24 months

• Squishy Sponges- Give your child some soaking wet sponges to play with outside.

• Shadow Play- In a darkened room, shine a flashlight at your hand so that the shadow is reflected on the wall. Wave to your child and make silly shadow shapes with your hand.

• Gardening-Plant some seeds that grow in summer, such as grass or flower seeds, in a patch of dirt outside or in a pot to keep inside.

• Sensory play-fill a containter with edible items such as whipped cream, crumbled graham crackers, cooked pasta, jello, and allow your child to play with the food items.

• Shaving cream-Mix shaving cream and food coloring on a large tray.

24-36 months

• Frogs on a Lily Pad- Cut out big green circles from paper and scatter them across the floor. Let your child pretend to be a frog and hop from lily pad to lily pad. Don’t forget to “ribbit” together.

• Sponge Fun- Grab some big sponges and get ready for some wet fun outside. You can toss a wet sponge to one another. You can also jump barefoot on a big soaking wet sponge to make the water come out. You might dip the sponge into a bucket of water and then squeeze it into a second bucket.

• Summer Birthday Party for Teddy- Find several stuffed animals and set them on a blanket outside. Have a “birthday party” with paper plates, cups, birthday hats, etc. You might even make a birthday cake for Teddy using playdough.

• Animal Walk- Inside or out, encourage your child to slither like a snake, hop like a frog, gallop like a horse, or walk like a bear on all fours.



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