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Slow and Steady


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Bonjour à tous. This is mainly a vent.

My little girl will be turning 2 in June. Before she was born, we got Slow and Steady: Get Me Ready (as recommended in past editions of WTM). During paternity leave, I took joy in "sciencing" ma petite Pousse with a mix of activities around the assigned week. When I went back to work, it fell off like a stone, to my wife's regret. I lost my job in August but I haven't been able to get back on the "sciencing" horse, and now it doesn't seem to match up at all - for whatever reason, she hasn't got past Mama and Papa yet (though she understands more words than that, in both languages) so all of the call-and-response or "what's this?" activities are out. She does her own thing quite a bit, so extended "put all the X in this container" stuff won't quite work. And these are the activities Slow and Steady recommends for children her age.

Even in those halcyon days, it was frustrating because a lot of the supplies Oberlander et al. expected to just be lying around the house (like bobbins)...aren't lying around our house, and we often don't have substitutes, so I had to skip anything involving equipment.

But I do want to get back to "sciencing" la Pousse. I'm just not sure where to pick up again, or how to proceed. Any veteran homeschoolers out there?

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I've never read this book, but your little girl is 2, likely it's going to be just fine. 

12 minutes ago, Roscoe said:

I lost my job in August but I haven't been able to get back on the "sciencing" horse, and now it doesn't seem to match up at all - for whatever reason, she hasn't got past Mama and Papa yet (though she understands more words than that, in both languages) so all of the call-and-response or "what's this?" activities are out.

For little ones all the call-and-response activities are likely still helpful for her even if you do the entirety of the call-and-response.

You: What is this? 

Toddler: .....

You: pause and wait to give them a chance to think and respond

You: This is a cabbage. 

Or honestly just talk to them about stuff. I'll tell you I spent a lot of time trying to get my son to learn letters and sounds of letters. He was 4 and wouldn't say any of the letters (sound or name).  I filled out the annual pediatrician questionnaire with "no my 4 year old doesn't know his letters". When I arrived at the pediatrician appointment 3 days later my son knew how to read. Sometimes they will pick up things and not tell you.  

In a lot of the baby/toddler book stuff you can often figure out what the activity is trying to do and substitute with whatever you've got lying about the house or one of their toys or something. Quite frankly you don't really need a book to tell you how to interact with your child just interact with them. Read to them, narrate your life to them, point out things to them, have fun with them, play with them, show them the things you know, they are wired to learn it doesn't take anything special.

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That's a good time to focus on gross motor skills. Take her to the park and let her climb up stuff to freak out the helicopter parents.

I had that book too and my small person found it kind of offensive. Of course, our household are all autistic, so it could be that. She liked puzzles though. Luckily we had a toy library or I couldn't have afforded her habit. When she was three and a half, she decided to learn to do 100 piece puzzles, even though she had absolutely no skills, and kept me at it on the kitchen floor all day. Longest 8 hours of my life, lol. Puzzles are good. There's plenty to talk about, but the kid doesn't need to be verbal. 

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I had a non-verbal child at 2 and we still did call and response songs and activities much the way that Clarita explains. Just because the child doesn't response doesn't mean they don't benefit from verbal games and hearing language play. Sing songs, in both languages if you want, with your wife, trade off who does the call and who does the response. Sing songs with alliteration, rhymes, onomatopoeia and other word play. Sound out words and then say the word, I like to j-u-m-p. Jump! and then jump when you say the whole word. My son was non-verbal until he was 4 and then his language just exploded. He still has language issues that he goes to speech for but his speech was delayed for a different reason than your dd. I'm sure she will surprise you as well with a language explosion in both languages.

Rosie also has a good point, as always, about focusing on gross motor skills at this age as well. Climb, jump, kick and throw are all good skills to work on at two.

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My child was (and still is) rather unwilling to follow parental directed activities. He would rather do his own interesting thing. I tried all the activities I saw on BusyToddler or Days with Gray or similar, but usually I was just left thinking "Do other people‘s kids come and do the activity if you set it up for them. For more than one minute?“

Things that worked for us:

Talk. Talk lots! Narrate your day, your thoughts etc. Figure out what brings her joy and talk about that. I talked a lot about trams and construction vehicles. Visit places like farms, post offices, stations, forests, beaches, museums and talk about all that stuff too.

Read lots of books together. Read seasonal books or topic books. Read about what brings her joy. (If you are aiming for bilingual, and schooling/daycare is in only one language, for me us it helps to be a bit intentional about what we read. E.g. right now it would look like reading a spring picture book, or one about birds as well as Demolition! Or Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site. We really enjoyed some Wimmelbook type books at this age.

Looking at some Montessori books or blogs and picking up activities from there - e.g. baking, planting seeds, independence with handwashing etc. (The book Montessori Toddler is good, as is the Kavanaugh Report Blog.) The key is that this stuff is an offering to the child, not a set activity - they can come and join you chopping bananas if they like (and you have a stool and a safe little knife ready if they do).

Talk about numbers just as part of your day - while shopping, baking, tidying things away, counting steps, counting small snacks etc. You can get in the habit pretty quickly of it just becoming a normal part of your narrating the day: "Up the steps! 1, 2, 3….“

We spent a lot of time on the balance bike, or at the zoo, in the library, or in the park. Also splashing in the swimming pool. 

He was pretty resistant to art activities but you could try playdoh or paint, or big chubby crayons and paper. The BusyToddler mixing colored water was always a hit! 

The activities that don‘t work now don‘t go anywhere. Your kid will grow into them,. We enjoy crafts now at five that I‘m sure some kids were doing at 2 or 3 - but it doesn’t change how enjoyable they are.


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Merci à tous for all the great responses. Honestly, it's a help just hearing from you all that I don't need to stress as much as I do. My wife and I talk to her a lot and toss her around and play with her, and she's just figured out drawing (and frankly, I like her spiky, stylized lines - they just radiate HEY LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!!) and catch.

Today, when I came in, she said 'bonjour' to me. It came out closer to 'buhjoo' but she's making an effort.

Thanks again.

Edited by Roscoe
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