Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome

By Amanda Brunning, TLC Preschool Teacher & TLC Parent

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. My son, Caleb, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born, and our family has since been on a transformative journey as Caleb grows and explores his world, and as we learn how to be the best parents to him that we can be.

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I want to share what I have learned in the past two years about Down syndrome and how my son has changed me. When we got the call about Caleb two years ago (my husband and I were hoping to adopt a child), the first thing our caseworker told us was that he had Down syndrome. Working with children with a variety of special needs as a teacher, I knew a little bit about Down syndrome. I knew that this meant that he had been born with an extra 21st chromosome, and that he would most likely have a list of other health issues, some that would not become apparent until he continued to grow. I knew that bringing home our son meant many doctor trips and multiple therapy sessions each week including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. I knew that he would hit milestones at different times then a typically-developing child. I knew that his speech would be delayed and that I might not hear him say “Momma” or “Daddy” until long after other children had begun using words. I know that if we said yes to this child that we would be busy, but “yes” was the only option for us. To say that was the best “yes” decision we made in our lives would be an understatement, because Caleb has taught me so much about being a mom, being a mom to a child with special needs, and about being a better person.

After we brought Caleb home, I quickly started to learn that there was much that I didn’t know about Down syndrome and that what I did know about it barley scratched the surface. We knew we had a lot of work to do with a brand new infant with special needs, and so we jumped into our new life as it quickly filled up with doctors and therapy appointments. One of the most important early doctors appointments was a visit to the Sie Center for Children with Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. It was there that I learned about all the things that we had to watch for as his development progressed, and all the possibilities of what could happen as he grew. We learned that children with Down syndrome had many increased medical risks. These can include:

• low muscle tone,

• hearing loss,

• heart defects,

• vision problems,

• sleep apnea,

• spin or hip issues,

• thyroid disorders,

• digestive disorders (Celiac’s disease, Hirschsprung, constipation),

• blood disorders,

• epilepsy (infantile spasms),

• swallowing/feeding problems.

I learned that his teeth would most likely come in a different order, at different times, and some might not come in at all. I also learned that many people with Down syndrome had low immune systems and tend to pick up bugs easier, and for some a common cold can result in a hospital stay. This list would cause any parent to worry. I certainly went into worry hyper-drive when I heard all of this. Some of the things in this list I already knew, but many I did not.

As we dove into therapy, doctor appointments, urgent care stops, meetings with case managers for IFSP’s, and meeting other families in the Down syndrome world, I started to learn to never underestimate my son. I knew that he would reach all his milestones, but I quickly learned to not underestimate what he could do. Somewhere along the way, I started to look at all the things he can do and not what he can’t do. I started to see him for him and not in comparison to what the kids around him were doing. I started to see how much he is going to change the people around him for the better, and hopefully the world. He has taught me how to be an advocate. He has taught me how to assume Ability and not Disability. Most importantly, though, he’s taught me how to be a mom, and we’re so grateful we had the opportunity to say “yes.”

 

Parent Toolkit Nights: Expanding Our Toolkit

By Renee and Russell Schoenbeck; Parents of TLC toddler Riley, age 2

Riley enjoys painting contact paper with watercolors for a fun sensory activity in her toddler classroom.

Riley enjoys painting contact paper with watercolors for a fun sensory activity in her toddler classroom.

We love TLC. Let’s just throw that right out there. We love the mission. We love the philosophy. We love that we KNOW our daughter’s life is being enriched by her time spent at TLC. So, when opportunities at TLC present themselves, like Parent Toolkit Nights, we are eager to participate. 

Let us explain: Parent Toolkit Nights occur 4-6 times per academic year and are available to parents of students at TLC (prospective parents: this is a wonderful benefit). The Toolkit nights are 60 minutes and are lead by a teacher and a therapist who discuss helpful strategies that are taught in school, then offer ways to incorporate those strategies at home. 

Yes, really. The experts in early childhood education are not only willing to teach your child all day long, but they are also willing to teach YOU how to work with your kid (while providing you with snacks, laughs, and childcare). We feel like we could end this right here and invite you to join us, but let’s press on. 

Riley and her parents enjoyed the toddler costume party together last October.

Riley and her parents enjoyed the toddler costume party together last October.

Toolkit nights are spent reviewing things like visual schedules, calm down strategies, problem-solving strategies and more, in a way that bridges the gap from school to home, and helps us help our kids with life-long strategies. The strategies help us communicate with our children better, and, heck, even our significant others (because suddenly people become a lot less annoying when they say “Geeze, my engine is running so slowly!”)

The teachers and therapists put a lot of time into these nights, and not only do they have a giveaway (we won timers at the last Toolkit night!), but they always have some kind of project or handout that you can make and take home to begin introducing the strategies at home immediately. This past ToolKit night, we received starter Calm Down Kits, complete with a squishy, chew, and lavender-infused weighted pad.  Not to mention, the evening is filled with other parents who are just as grateful for the information as you are. 

At the last Toolkit night, Miss Jen talked about how the trickle-down effect works with our children within the community. If our kids can learn to self-regulate, self-soothe, communicate effectively, and make good choices, then when they interact with other kids, they model that behavior, and it spreads. How can we set our kids up to be part of this wonderful trickle-down effect? By learning. By being involved. By bridging the gap. By extending the lessons that our children are learning at school, to our home.

We are raising the future, and TLC is setting us up to succeed. I can’t tell you how many times the words “If we had access to these skills when our kids were younger…” have been uttered. We are lucky to have access to this information, and we are lucky to have teachers and therapists willing to dedicate the time to teach us.

We hope you’ll join us for the next Toolkit night on Thursday, April 26, 2018, for some snacks, laughs, and learning. 

P.S. Don’t forget, there is free childcare! 
 

Bienvenidos a TLC Learning Center!

Traducido por Lupe Morales, TLC Profesor

TLC Learning Center: Enriqueciendo el éxito de todos los niños desde 1956

Bienvenidos a TLC Learning Center, donde los niños de todas las habilidades e historiales aprenden juntos en un ambiente enriquecedor y positivo. 

El centro de aprendizaje de TLC es un centro de educación infantil temprana para infantes, niños pequeños y preescolares con un centro de terapia pediátrica en el lugar ubicado en Longmont, Colorado. Nuestras aulas preparan a cada niño para kindergarten a través de alfabetización y currículo enfocado en STEM (Ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas. Desarrollamos un comportamiento social y emocional positivo en cada niño, creando un ambiente de aprendizaje holístico que se centra en todo el niño. Además del desarrollo cognitivo y socio-emocional, los estudiantes de preescolar TLC participan en Yoga para niños y jóvenes atletas para el desarrollo de habilidades motrices finas y gruesas. TLC ganó el programa de 2017 jóvenes atletas del año en Colorado.

TLC atiende a los niños en un ambiente completamente inclusivo y deliberadamente diverso para fomentar la compasión y el pensamiento crítico en todos nuestros estudiantes. Para cumplir con nuestra misión – proveer educación integral y servicios terapéuticos de la niñez temprana para ayudar a cada niño en alcanzar su potencial más alto – estamos calificados en el nivel cuatro por Colorado Shines. 

Nuestros salones de infantes, de niños pequeños y preescolares están abiertos durante todo el año para servir mejor a nuestras familias. El salón de infantes de TLC sirve a niños desde ocho semanas de edad. Nuestros salones de niños pequeños sirven a niños hasta 2 1/2 años de edad. Nuestro programa de preescolar sirve a niños de hasta seis años de edad. Todos nuestros salones de clase sirven a niños con desarrollo típico (que no se ha identificado ninguna necesidad especial o retraso en el desarrollo), al igual que a niños con retraso en el desarrollo o necesidades especiales. Salones de clase diversos son parte de nuestro modelo de aprendizaje totalmente inclusivo.

La terapia física, ocupacional y de lenguaje para niños de hasta 12 anos de edad ofrecida aquí en el mismo lugar permite al personal de TLC identificar retrasos en el desarrollo y necesidades especiales en los niños tan pronto como sea posible y proveer una intervención temprana para mejorar resultados a largo plazo. 

  Los estudiantes de TLC son de origen diverso, y estamos muy orgullosos de nuestros salones de clase totalmente inclusivos donde los niños con habilidades típicas (que no se han identificado necesidades especiales) aprenden y juegan al lado de otros niños con retrasos en el desarrollo o necesidades especiales. Salones de clase inclusivos promueven compasión y cuidado a los niños y se benefician ambos, niños con habilidades típicas y niños con necesidades especiales.

TLC fue fundado como The Tim Center en 1956 por familias locales, y ha servido a la comunidad con la más alta calidad de cuidado de infantes, de niños pequeños, preescolares y terapias pediátricas desde entonces. 

Tome un recorrido por nuestras instalaciones, aprenda sobre nuestros programas de Educación temprana de niños y nuestros programas de terapia pediátrica, lea nuestro blog, vea nuestro último boletín, hojee nuestro informe anual, o pónganse en contacto con nosotros para más información y programe un recorrido por nuestras instalaciones. ¡Nos complaceremos de tenerlos aquí! 
 

Switching Hats: Teacher to Parent

By Amanda Brunning, TLC Preschool Teacher & Parent

TLC Infant Lead Teacher Debbie Van Thuyne with a friend

TLC Infant Lead Teacher Debbie Van Thuyne with a friend

I have been working with and teaching children with special needs and their families for the past eight years. I have been through many emotional roller coasters with parents and have been a part of many conversations where parents just needed to vent and I was happy to listen. I tried to be as much help as I could, but before becoming a parent myself, my view was limited and I couldn't say that I knew what it was like to parent a child with a disability full time.

Teachers in early childhood have kids from four to eight hours a day before they go home and we're off duty. We work with the children in a controlled setting and on a consistent schedule. We have extensive training and on-hand tools that we can draw from and utilize when a child is having a hard time. Life outside the classroom - with families, in public places - is very different and far more unpredictable than classroom life. As a teacher, I have preparation and immediate assistance for handling trying situations and behavior on top of my primary job of helping teach children educational skills and positive social behaviors,  but when a person becomes a parent, there's very little preparation for the next 18+ years of caring for and raising children of any ability. Children don't come with handbooks, and parents have to learn as they go.
 
My husband and I had been going through the adoption process for several years, and nine months ago we were matched and placed with a 7-month-old little boy with Down syndrome. I would love to say - with all of my experience and degree in early childhood and special education - that I was prepared. In truth, I did not feel prepared at all. I knew that this beautiful little boy would need pediatric therapies and that TLC would be the perfect away-from-home-home for him when I went back to work, and that the therapists would work with him both at our house and in the TLC infant nursery, and that was a huge relief when I felt overwhelmed. I was so thankful for all the help from my co-workers in getting his therapies and early interventions in place and for helping the process of transitioning our son into our home go as smoothly as possible.

After he arrived, every day was a new experience and a new visit to a new doctor. In the first few months of having our little boy we saw so many different doctors and with each doctor we felt overwhelmed at what this new doctor could say or what that visit could bring. His therapist became my go-to when I was unsure what advice to take, what direction to go, or when I was trying to figure out if something going on with him was normal for his diagnosis, or when I needed guidance on what I needed to do to help him grow and develop. His infant teacher at TLC is my other go-to when I have a parenting/infant question, and I no doubt ask her a million questions a day. Debbie (the TLC infant teacher) has also listened to me vent about everything from difficulties getting him to sleep to doctors appointments that we came away with no answers or nerves about surgery. These people have become part of our support system and we are so thankful for them. In stepping into the role of parent of a child with special needs, I'm finally getting to walk in the shoes of the parents of kiddos I've worked with throughout the years, and I feel even more connected to them and struggles that come with parenting young children.
 
Switching hats to the parent roll has opened my eyes to so much of what families with children with special needs can be going through. I hope that my new roll as this beautiful little boy's mommy can help me grow as a teacher and better support the children and families better that come into my classroom.

Through all the struggles, the late nights, spit ups, and parade of questions, I wouldn't change a thing, and I'm so grateful to my TLC support group.
 

Tips for Feeding a Picky Eater

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Children can be tougher critics than Michelin inspectors at meal time, making it difficult to figure out how to get necessary nutrients off their plates and into their tummies. Chronic pickiness becomes even more concerning when worrying whether your child is a typical picky eater or has a selective eating disorder. Some signs to look for to help determine if your child is more than just a picky eater include:

  • A restricted range of foods willingly eaten (usually less than 20).

  • Crying when presented with new foods as opposed to simply pushing the food around or away.

  • Refusing groups of foods with similar characteristics (no soft textures, no vegetables, etc.)

  • Never eating with the family and/or always having a separate meal.

If you suspect your child’s picky eating goes beyond what’s healthy for a varied, balanced diet, and your child isn’t showing signs of growing out of their pickiness, a pediatric therapist can help. Therapists, like those at TLC, can help children learn to tolerate new textures and tastes in food, help decrease a child’s anxiety at mealtime, address physical hindrances to eating safely, and more.

Wherever your child lands on the spectrum of pickiness, here are a few tips to help your child better enjoy mealtime, embark on new food adventures, and ingest more nutrition from a wider variety of foods:

  • Keep meals and snacks on a schedule. Kids will be more likely to try new foods if they’re hungry and know the mealtime routine. Set daily times for three meals and two snacks, so your child will learn to anticipate when food is coming, and how long they’ll have to wait if they choose not to eat what’s on their plate.

  • Let children feed themselves. Children like the independence of being able to feed themselves, and can better self-monitor their portion sizes and when they’re full. If there are multiple offerings on the plate, the child can also have the power to choose what items on the plate they wish to eat.

  • Wait. This one may be the hardest on the list. If you push the child to eat, they’ll resist. If you make a show trying to encourage the child to eat, they’ll not eat to keep the show going. If you applaud and reward when they do eat, they’ll learn that delaying eating merits praise. So the best thing to do? Set the food down, and wait for the child to show interest (or not) on their own.

  • Don’t allow old standbys to be an equal option to new foods. When plating, add a mix of new and favorite foods (while keeping a balance of protein, veggies, fruits, and high-fiber starches in each meal), while keeping the serving size of an old favorite small enough that won’t be enough to fill up on and ignore the new food. The more new foods you introduce to your child early on, the less picky they’re likely to be when they’re older, so keep those new foods in rotation.

  • Put dinosaurs on the table. Or a book. Or a small toy. My daughter likes to alternate between eating her food and dancing rubber dinosaurs across the table. This helps keep her happy when she wants to take a break from eating. She’s also been known to use the dinosaur’s tail to stab the food like a fork.

  • Let kids be involved. Whether it’s standing at the counter with you and “cutting” up a banana while you cook or letting them choose from two options what they’d like to eat, having a child involved in the meal selection and preparation process increases their investment in mealtime, and thus their engagement.

  • Tell a story before or along with the meal about the meal. Children are wired for stories, and incorporating the meal prep process, the eating process, and how the food nourishes the body into a story can help get kids excited to eat their food.

  • Make meal time play time. Let a child touch, poke, smash, and explore new foods. Helping a child get used to new foods is the first step towards taking a bite. Encourage play by letting children roll peas across a table, build with carrot sticks, mold rice into shapes, make faces on their plate, and more. Help your child associate meals with joy.

  • Let your child determine when they’re finished. Even if you don’t think your child has had enough to eat, respect their communication of “finished,” whether its verbal, a head shake, sign language, or another signal.

  • Feed each other. Allow your child to give you a bite of food (or three), then see if they’ll let you give them one.

  • Sneak the vegetables in from time to time. My toddler never turns down a banana zucchini muffin.

  • Start early, be patient, and model healthy eating habits. It takes repeated exposure to some new foods for a child to begin to tolerate, and even like, that food. Present new foods often as soon as your child is eating solids, be patient if they refuse to try the food and don’t force them to eat it, and model eating it for them (with gusto).

It may try your patience, but for the typical picky eater, repeated exposure and working to make meal time enjoyable will pay off as a child grows and their palate expands. If your child continues to insist on an extremely limited diet, demonstrates continued extreme resistance toward new foods, isn’t getting the proper nutrition or is failing to gain adequate weight, it may be time to get some help. Talk to your pediatrician and schedule a consultation with a pediatric therapist.

Here’s wishing many licked-clean plates in your child’s future!
 

Help for Riley, a TLC Kiddo

Because TLC is a combined preschool and pediatric therapy center, we work with both healthy, thriving children and medically fragile children. Sometimes our medically fragile children make huge strides in gaining strength and independence, but sometimes the challenges they face are far greater than any a child should ever be asked to overcome.

Riley is a seven year old boy with bright blue eyes and an infectious giggle who has been part of the TLC community since 2010. In 2013 he was diagnosed with PKAN, a progressive neurological disorder that causes progressive degeneration of specific areas in the central nervous system, affecting movement and muscle tone. Recently, Riley has had rapid progression of this disease and has been at Children’s Hospital for two weeks in and out of medically induced comas to try to help bring him relief.

Seeing Riley shift from a vibrant, healthy child who wants to do normal things like play and be with his family to a child who can't leave his hospital bed has been extremely difficult both for Riley and those who love him, including his family and the TLC staff who have worked with him for six of his seven years.

Riley's family has partnered with the Martyred Angels charity out of Boulder, who is sponsoring a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Riley's medical expenses, expenses that are consuming most of the family's income (Riley's primary caregiver is his mother Erin, a single mom). Right now the primary focus of Riley's care is on making him comfortable for the time he has remaining with his family. Please keep Riley and his hope for recovery in your thoughts, and be thankful for everyday your children are healthy.

As Riley is part of the TLC family, we're sharing his story and GoFundMe page here, should anyone be interested in helping him and his family during this very difficult time. 

 

Colorado Gives Day will be Here Soon!

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, thousands of donors will come together to support Colorado nonprofits. Last year, a record-breaking $26.2 million was raised for Colorado nonprofits. Donors like you helped TLC raise $20,350! 

This year, our goal is to raise $25,000, and we need your help!

How: Mark your calendar for December 8th, and plan to join all of Colorado in giving a gift to your favorite charities, which we hope includes TLC Learning Center, through www.ColoradoGives.org. If you like to cross things off your to-do list, you can pre-schedule your gift now!

If you'd like to go the extra mile in helping children and families this year, create your own fundraising page on www.ColoradoGives.org. Click “Sign Up” as a “Donor,” and create your free Colorado Gives account. Then, create a fundraising campaign by selecting “My Campaigns.” Designate TLC Learning Center as your non-profit organization of choice. Name your campaign (example: “Matt’s TLC Fundraiser”), then give it an easy web address next to “URL” (example: www.ColoradoGives.org/MattLovesTLC).  You can add photos and a personal appeal video if you like. Enter your fundraising goal, and  then submit your page for approval. Once it’s approved, share your fundraising page web address with your friends, family, and co-workers through email, on Facebook, or however else you’d like.

When: You can start now! You can pre-schedule your gift at Colorado Gives today, and your contributors can schedule their gifts for December 8th right now, too! So there’s no worry about forgetting to take part when Colorado Gives Day comes.

Why: Your fundraising dollars go directly to children with special needs and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds so that they can attend our high quality early childhood education programs and pediatric therapy programs. TLC’s  inclusive programs build strong minds, strong bodies, and a strong sense of compassion in all kids. AND, the 1st Bank $1 million Incentive Fund means your Colorado Gives Day dollars are matched, earning even more money for TLC.

Bonus: Gifts of $250.00 or more to TLC qualify for the Colorado Childcare Contribution Tax Credit. Click here to learn more. 

Thank you so much for your continued support!

PS - our Christmas Tree Festival tickets are on sale now! Have you got yours yet?

The Listening Program

By Lindsey Blechle, TLC Occupational Therapist 

Sound is all around us. We are constantly processing auditory input from our environment. As I type this I can hear cars driving down my street, a train in the distance, the wind coming in my window, my computer humming, birds chirping, and an occasional alert on my phone. It’s a lot to take in as I try to focus on this one task. 

The act of hearing is passive; it is simply the ability to sense sound. The act of listening is active; it is the ability to take in and filter out sound. Auditory processing is dynamic; it is how the brain organizes what it hears. Children with sensory processing challenges often struggle with all three forms of auditory input. The act of hearing may be overwhelming when the sensory system perceives sounds as being too loud. The act of listening to directions in a classroom may be challenging when classmates are talking, pens are clicking or the hallway is noisy. For children that are struggling with the act of hearing and listening, processing auditory information correctly at a higher level adds a whole new challenge. I became a certified provider of The Listening Program because of the positive effect I saw the program make in pediatric patients with auditory sensitivities. 

The Listening Program by Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT) is a therapeutic music program focused on improving sound brain fitness. The music is performed by ABT’s own award-winning Arcangelos Chamber Ensemble. The music then undergoes neuroacoustic modifications to provide the sound contrast needed to train and improve sound perception.  These modifications improve discrimination, reduce sensitivities and direct attention. 

The Listening Program modification techniques work with the brain’s plasticity to improve overall function and shows benefits in the following areas:

Perception                        Attention                              Memory
Motor coordination         Language                            Listening
Auditory processing       Spatial awareness             Flexibility
Problem solving               Decision making               Self-regulation
Sensory processing        Sequencing                         Inhibition
Social engagement        Creativity                             Brain health 

 

The Listening Program includes many therapeutic programs to target specific areas of intervention:

  • Level One – balanced training adaptable for all listeners that focuses on all frequency zones (full spectrum, sensory integration, speech and language and high spectrum). This is the best program for children with sound sensitivities and the most recommended for TLC Learning Center’s pediatric population.

  • Sleep – sound neuroscience for a restful night’s sleep

  • Sound Health – Music of Learning, Music for Concentration, Music to Relax, etc.

  • This music can be played over speakers and throughout all environments

  • Music for Babies – Sleepy Baby, Peaceful Baby, Playful Baby and Cheerful Baby

  • Spectrum – foundational training with a focus in the sensory integration frequency zone, for the extreme sensory sensitive listener.

  • Achieve – intermediate to experienced training with a focus in the speech and language frequency zone.

The Listening Program is now available at TLC Learning Center as another therapeutic tool for our pediatric clients. 

Music is a therapy. It is a communication far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient.
— Yehudi Menuhin

For more information visit The Listening Program, or contact TLC for information on occupational therapy and The Listening Program. 

Responsive Language

By Amy Kuessel, TLC Teaching Assistant

Responsive language is a way of speaking with children that uses reason and logic, encourages independence, uses nurturing control, and encourages elaboration. Responsive language helps children develop oral language skills, self-expression, and social-emotional skills related to peer and adult interactions. The opposite of responsive language is restrictive language. Restrictive language asserts power, discourages independence, is controlling, and has a lecturing tone. 

It seems natural to ask children questions to elicit responses, but research shows that asking pointed questions can raise the anxiety of a child and thus limit the complexity of a child's language and response. Questions can be restrictive when a child worries about giving an adult the "right" answer, or about selecting his or her words to stay in the parameters of the question. Responsive language creates opportunities for children to speak freely, using an expanded vocabulary and independent thought. Some suggestions for using responsive language when conversing with a child include:

1) Repeat: Repeating what the child said opens up the conversation and lets them know they are heard, and that the adult is receptive to the child elaborating on his or her statement.

2) Expand: Repeat what the child said and expand on it in your response. This helps guide the child's thoughts down new paths, keeping the conversation open and moving.

3) Self-talk: Use self-talk to teach children how to connect actions with language. In self-talk, a parent or guardian narrates what they are thinking and feeling. For example, "I like strawberries on my cereal," "I am slicing carrots for your lunch."

4) Parallel talk: In parallel talk, the parent or caregiver repeats what the child may be doing, feeling, and thinking to help the child connect language with their actions and feelings. Parallel talk almost always starts with "you," for example, "You are playing with your blocks," or "You are chewing your spaghetti."

5) Modeling: Modeling is another way to maintain a conversation with a child, but this time without using the child's words. This type of responsive language helps a child learn new ways to say things, while guiding them to elaborate on a topic or thought.

Strategies that support children's learning and give and take in conversation help children develop language skills, independent thought, and social-emotional skills. Responsive language is a great and easy strategy to give kids a head start in the development of these positive skills!

Cold Weather Speech and Language Activities for Kids

By Fawn Gold, TLC SpeechTherapist

January in Colorado is a chilly month! And with cold temperatures, ice, and snow, comes the need for indoor activities with children. Find a whole month's worth of indoor speech and language activities to help keep kids busy (and having fun!) while developing speech/language acquisition skills, and oral motor skills in the chart below:

 Make hot chocolate and talk about each step involved in preparation (first, second, third, etc.).

 When getting ready to go outside, talk about the purpose of coats, hats, scarves, and why we need to wear them.

Name four animals you see in the winter/cold climates and find pictures to discuss how they are similar and different from each other.

  Act out and talk about the verbs jump, crawl, kick, throw, catch, and other movements that can be demonstrated in the living room.

 Race cars on a table and talk about the differences between fast and slow.

 Read a book about winter and ask your child to recall five details from the story.

Find items of different textures (rough, soft, hard, etc.) and put them in a bag and have your child guess what they are.

Use silverware to make a pattern and talk about what’s first, last, and what will come next.

 Take turns thinking of things that are white like the snow. Where can you find each of the things you list?

Help your child find 10 words in a book or magazine that start with the same letter as your child’s name

 Find five things in the kitchen and talk about how they are used, and what you can make with them.

 Make snowballs of various sizes and talk about the differences between big and small.

Find all the tables in your house and talk about their sizes and shapes. Ask your child, what can you do on each table?

Make a grilled cheese sandwich and label and talk about the ingredients.

During a meal, include a variety of food textures and talk about soft, crunchy, chewy, etc.

 Have your child help sort the laundry and match colors.

Write the names of all family members and then count the letters and talk about long and short.

 Find several pairs of shoes and arrange them from biggest to smallest.

Have your child go to three rooms in your house and find five things in each room that are blue

While driving, ask your child about all of the different colors of houses, buildings, etc. that they see.

Walk between two buckets transferring cotton balls on a spoon and talk about full and empty.

Take turns hiding a small object under one of three bowls and guessing which bowl it’s under (1st, 2nd, or 3rd).

During bath time, talk about which toys or objects float and sink.

 Use play-doh to make a snowman and talk about all of the body parts.

Take turns naming as many different animals as you can.

Are you looking for a pediatric speech, physical, or occupational therapist for your child? TLC Learning Center has a highly rated pediatric therapy center, in addition to our 4 Star ranked preschool education and infant care center. Call us at (303)776-7417) to learn more.