The Ms. Rachel phenomenom
My mom recently suggested I have a Ms. Rachel themed birthday party for my almost two year old and it hit me what a cultural phenomenon she has become!
Screentime recommendations for littles:
I have to start with the disclaimer that the CDC recommends no screentime for children 0-18 months, less than an hour a day for children 18-24 months, and no more than one hour a day for children 2-5 years. It’s also important to remember that children learn language through real people in real time and screens don’t necessarily promote long-term learning. Communication is about connection so trying to aim to make screen time a shared experience through co-viewing is ideal, when possible.
But I’m also a mom and I know sometimes we just need to make dinner and a little YouTube can be super helpful!
Speech therapy strategies used by Ms. Rachel:
There are a lot of strategies Ms. Rachel uses that support speech development that you can use too, and in fact, will be in more powerful because they will be contingent on what your child says! Here are a few of my favorites:
Incorporating signs and gestures:
Not only do signs decrease frustration by allowing your child to say with their hands what their mouth isn’t saying just yet, but signs actually support speech development. You can teach signs the same way we recommend teaching words, by modeling again and again in a meaningful context.
Using songs and music:
Babies come into the world prepared to learn any language and they learn their native language through its rhythmic properties. Music capitalizes on this intrinsic ability to pick up on rhythms and beats. Songs also encourage gestures, sounds, and copying, which are all foundational skills for talking. Songs and fingerplays also allow your child to hear the same words again and again, so they have the perfect context for learning them.
Do you know the way Ms. Rachel talks actually has benefits for learning language? The sing songy way she talks is called parentese and actually helps little ones learn language. Not only does it tell your child to tune in because the language is just for them, but it capitalizes on the same rhythm that children learn language through. In fact, one study showed that toddlers only learned new words when they were delivered in this way. It wasn’t until 34 months, the children in the study could learn new words no matter how they were said!
There are so many things you can do to support your child’s speech and language at home and Songs for Littles does a nice job of showing some of them in action! If you want to learn even more simple and proven speech therapy strategies, check out my self-paced online course for parents of late-talking toddlers.