Diary of an SLP Mommy: Play Time!

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So I am anonymous and I do not share much information with all of you.  But one thing I will admit, I am an SLP mommy.  Yes, I have a child and I work full time.  My child is a little older than one year old.  As an SLP mommy, I feel like I had a unique experience watching my child learn and develop, compared to other mommy friends I have.  I decided I would create a new blog feature to share some things I have learned, experienced, and look forward to learning more of.

Not a mommy?  You may want to just read for the fun and see what may be in store for you in the future.  Are you a been there done that SLP mommy?  Well…maybe you can relate to some of my revelations and experiences.  Feel free to make fun or say “nah that didn't work for me.”  This blog feature is about what I have personally learned.

Today I will share some things I  learned about playing with my child.  We all know as SLPs how important play and interaction is.  But it is very interesting to watch and observe those that do not know what we know!  I find myself using techniques I learned in graduate school with my child.  Just giving sound effects, pairing movements with verbalization, and modeling how to play with toys.

When my child was first born, I wondered, “how am I going to make this play thing work?”  I knew I had to, I knew how important it was, but seriously, my child couldn't care less about the toys presented.  I would shake the toys, rattle them, sing songs with them, anything.  It seemed pointless at the time.  Now I know, it was not pointless!  Over time, my child learned to shake the toys, look into the mirror, kick toys hanging from above, and more.  It was fascinating to watch!  We learned this stuff in graduate school but here it was in real life in front of me!

Ok…so I got to see how important play is with my own eyes.  What else have I realized?  I have to remind myself to unplug, put the phone away, and get on that floor and play!  After working all day it can be tough….I just want to sit on that couch and catch up on my DVR sometimes.  But I have to remind myself (some days….not all!  I do love to play with my child!).

What are some of my favorite go-to toys?  I love toys that have developmental purpose.

I love toys that allows my child to press buttons for cause/effect, knock down, build up, read, and follow along.  Whenever my mommy friends asks me for guidance on what toys to purchase, these are ones I recommend, or things similar for that similar purpose.  The book is a pop  up book.  I love to play “peek-a-boo” with the pages!  Books that are interactive are more popular in my house.  The magna doodle is a way to draw without fearing a mess or putting crayons in the mouth.  My child is now starting to notice the cause/effect factor that if the pen touches the board…a mark is made.  Watching the “ah-ha” is amazing!  The blocks are a great way to model building/knocking down.  I pair it with “up” an “more” for requesting more pieces.  The knocking down toy is so much fun.  I pair the action of knocking it down with “uh oh” and watching my child imitate it in the beginning and now doing it spontaneously is incredible!  (Amazon Affiliate links to these toys and other similar items at the bottom of this post!)

While playing with these toys…I always have to remind myself…follow their lead!  I may take out a toy and they may have no interest.  That is OK…go with what they want.  They just want your keys?  OK….let's make it a game!  They just want to walk/run…go chase after them!  Fan favorites in my house is the tickle monster and peek-a-boo! This is what has been successful for me while playing with my child.  It is amazing watching my child play and seeing the wonder through their eyes.

Pretend play:  I thought that my child may be too young for this but I was pleasantly surprised to see the imitation.  Even better, now my child is completing the tasks on the verbal command!  It is amazing to watch the growth and development!  Yes,  it is simple pretend play such as pretending to eat the play food and feeding the play food to stuffed animals.  I thought my child would be too young for a play kitchen but my child is exploring and learning the cause/effect, if I grab and pull on this it opens, if I turn this it makes a noise.  By no means am I saying everyone should have all toys and kitchen sets.  I have a future post about DIY baby/toddler toys and using what you have!

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post about my SLP mommy diaries.  Like I mentioned in the beginning…this was just an avenue for me to express my thoughts and experiences.   I have several other posts in the future about other SLP new mommy topics, I hope one or more of these topics you find relevant or interesting!