Today’s post gives me chills. It’s so EXACTLY what I hoped to do here at Little Stories. It’s a dream come true really.
As I look back I’ve written SO many words here in this space. I’ve said don’t push, see your child, take your time, be present, stay relevant, forget the SCLANS, be real, play, and enjoy. But I rarely know if anyone reads those words and finds them meaningful. Do they get what I’m saying about how language develops? Can they put this into practice in their daily lives? Do they care?
So when I received this story from Andrea it was just the confirmation I needed…
An independent girl from the start, language has always come easily to my first child – my daughter, now 3-and-a-half. She was an early talker and very verbal little one. I don’t mean this in a bragging way – I’ve come to realize more and more that I had little to do with her language abilities. Her pages are small – easy to fill – and she’s self-motivated to fill them.
I very much relate to the post on The Essence of Childhood – it has been my experience as well being able to “see” into my daughter’s mind, her view of the world, through her words. The way she asks me to “blow down the car window.” Her current experimentation is with using “however” and “perhaps.” It truly is magical.
The language learning path with my son (now 21 months), however, has been a different experience. An easy-going, happy child he is like a little light – always glowing. He’s happy to play with balls and cars, but words? Don’t come as easily.
At first I tried to let it go – to not worry. If anything, having a second child has taught me that I have so very much to learn about raising children. I did my best to trust in his abilities. His sister had set the bar high – not to mention the fact it’s not his bar, it’s hers. To compare them would be unfair to us all. But try as I might, I continued to feel that nagging worry in the back of my mind.
So I started looking for my own path. For a more focused way to support him. Reading Fill the Page theory was like a breath of fresh air. This makes sense – this I can do!
Basically it boiled down to two things: first, my son has very large pages. Second, I talk too much. I was the Milk Mom, believing I needed to talk my way through everything. After all, don’t all those parenting books encourage us parents to talk, talk, talk?
“Once I understood my son’s language development a bit better, I was able to slow down, reset my expectations, and find joy (instead of frustration) in the little steps.”
I started by picking a page: Truck.
I thought it was a good page for a couple of reasons. While it is not a word that is applicable to his eating or sleeping, it is applicable to a child’s most important basic: play. He loves trucks. He’s motivated by trucks. And I knew I would be setting him up for success by working on filling his “truck” page.
Then, I stopped talking (as much).
My son communicates in zero-to-one word sentences. So I boiled down all my chatter to his level. He communicates with no words? I give him one. He communicates in one word? I give him two. It forced me to be purposeful with my own communication.
And now I look, I invite, and I wait.
We look for trucks everywhere – when we’re on walks or outings.
I invite him to find and point out trucks in books and magazines – looking at both drawings and photos – and giving him the time and space to make the connection and communicate with me.
We play with trucks. We draw and color trucks. We are in truck heaven around here!
And like that, his page was filled. We have truck. We communicate, we celebrate, and then we pick a new word…
Just the fact that Andrea’s son has a word to communicate about his favorite thing is all I need. He is now beginning to tell his story. THAT’S what THIS is about.
Oh, and it’s really no surprise that Andrea read my words and got them. She’s a natural language getter. She’s half of the always lovely Crafting Connections website and Mini-Mag. There she shares many lessons for all of us in crafting beautifully simple family moments that honor childhood and offer rich experiences. Go see what she has to share.
Has your child filled a new page? What was it? We want to hear!Email this article »