The toddler years are a time of amazing growth and development.
During your baby’s first year, you had all kinds of firsts. With your toddler, there are even more new experiences to discover. You’ll hear your baby progress from babbling sounds and using simple words to asking questions, sharing their wants and opinions, and even telling you stories.
Lean into new moments and have fun with what each experience brings. There are some ways you can make the most of these new experiences to help transitions go smoothly.
Whether it's daycare, a nanny, or a playgroup, talk to your child-care provider so they understand your toddler's hearing and how to help your child to hear well. Find tips on working with child-care providers.
If your toddler is in daycare or a playgroup, get to know the other parents and children. Keep an eye out for potential new friends your child interacts with. These may be the ones to have play dates as they get older.
Ask what activities your child is doing during the day and do them again at home. For example, they may be learning to sit at a table and eat from small cups and a spoon, or maybe they are learning a new song or game. When you practice these at home, your child can be more familiar with the activities or directions, which helps them when interacting in the classroom.
Your toddler is on the move, has opinions, and is learning more about their body and emotions. Getting a toddler ready for an activity can be tricky, but routines can help make the process easier, more fun, and a LSL moment.
Use a song to signal when it's time to transition from one activity to another. Sing "Rub-a-dub-dub" when getting ready for bath time so your toddler connects the sound to the activity and knows what's happening.
Now that they're walking, shoes are a big part of your toddler's wardrobe and routine! As you're putting shoes on their feet, talk about them in detail — their color, laces or velcro, the sound they make on the floor.
Tell them two to three things they need to find to get ready. "We're getting ready to leave. Go find your red shoes and your jacket."
"This morning, we're going to the post office to mail a package to grandma. Then we'll go to the store and then we have music class."
Ask open-ended questions and have discussions with your child about what they might want to bring. "We're going to the park. What should we bring? What book do you want to bring to read in the car?"
Toddlers love adventures. There are so many great events and activities to bring your little explorer along. Prepare for these new adventures, whether it's going to the farmer's market or library, attending a street festival or outdoor concert, or visiting the local children's museum or zoo. As you prepare for these outings, think through what it'll be like for your toddler and how you can help them enjoy the experience.
These spaces can be noisy and overstimulating. There's a lot to see and hear! Move close to your child when talking with them and direct their attention to the different sounds. Focus on all the new words you can explore and experience together. Pause and encourage your toddler to listen. Talk about what you're seeing and hearing with lots of descriptive detail. Take photos and save momentos like ticket stubs or brochures. These will be helpful later when you start to have conversations about experiences.
The transition to preschool is a big step for your toddler and it's a whole new experience for you too. Your early intervention professional will have conversations with you and guide you through this process well before your toddler turns three. With LSL, you can expect your child to fully participate in mainstream education with their hearing peers.
Throughout this process communicate your goals and expectations so that everyone you work with knows your child is learning to listen and talk. Remember, you're in charge of your child's LSL journey.
Before your child turns three, become familiar with the options for preschool services in your area. If your child's receiving services on an IFSP, your early intervention professional will help you learn what's available near you.
The best way to make this transition as easy as possible for your family is to maintain positive communication with those who will teach your child. Stay highly involved in your child's academic education and continue to lead their LSL progress.
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Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Thousands of parents have been in your shoes. Find other parents who can share from experience, offer encouragement, and help your family reach your LSL goals.
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Outstanding Website: HearingFirst.org
Best Advocacy Website: StartsHear.org