As They Grow: Conversations and Resources on Child Development, is part of our monthly partnership with Little Lake County

January: Preventing the Dreaded Toddler Tantrum and Meltdown

We’ve all been there, done that, but if you’re like me you’re not interested in doing it again anytime soon. While toddler meltdowns are not totally avoidable (and unfortunately developmentally appropriate) there are some strategies you can use to hopefully decrease how often they are happening.

It’s important to consider why your child is melting down or having a tantrum. Is your child frustrated because he/she can’t communicate what he/she wants? Is he/she overtired or getting sick? Or is he/she just a little shit?!? (kidding!)  Having a better understanding of why your child is having a meltdown can help you be better prepared to tackle it head on, or prevent it before it starts. Read More.

December: What Is (EI) Early Intervention?

What is Early Intervention (EI)?

Early Intervention is a program for children who are between the ages of birth and 3 years old. It is a state and federally mandated program that provides support for families, teaching them how to play with their child in ways that will help them learn different skills they need for things they do every day. Read More...

November: Pediatric Interactions and WeeBits... Whats the difference??

What is Pediatric Interactions?

Pediatric Interactions is a private clinic that provides speech language and developmental therapy service for children with delays. They provide Early Intervention services for families with children who are between birth and 3 years old at families’ homes.  They also see children of all ages in their Grayslake and McHenry clinics.  Pediatric Interactions’ therapists strive to develop children’s communication skills in a supportive environment while using a combination of techniques and programs. Their comprehensive approach empowers families to connect and interact with their child in new and meaningful ways. Pediatric Interactions offers a variety of services, including; FREE developmental screenings, evaluations and treatment of articulation, fluency, language, cognitive, feeding, pragmatic, etc. delays, groups.

What is WeeBits?

WeeBits is a non-profit organization in Lake County, IL that offers FREE or low-cost enrichment classes and workshops for families with infants and toddlers. They work with families who want to improve their child’s success in the future, children who are “at-risk,” but may not qualify for other programs or services and expecting parents. Read More

September: Infant Massage: What’s the Rub?

Congrats! You now have a tiny bundle of joy (that eats, poop, sleeps and cries)…. Now what? Wouldn’t it be nice if your new baby had come with an instruction manual? Figuring out how to keep your baby happy all while bonding and feeling connected to your new baby can be a struggle for many new parents. Infant massage is one way you can help to promote bonding and attachment with your infant. This can be especially important for second (third, forth…) babies, for dads or with babies that are “difficult.” Read More.

August: Baby-Led Weaning; What is this all about (from a therapist and mom’s perspective)

The Baby-Lead Weaning approach to feeding infants seems to be becoming more mainstream and popular. The whole idea behind it is letting your baby eat what the rest of your family is eating and skipping what we think of as the more traditional route- pureed foods.

As a new mom I was skeptical and a little unsure about just giving my baby table foods from the start, but after a lot of research and talking to other moms I decided to give it a try and haven’t regretted that decision since. Read More

July: The Benefits of Bubble Play

“More, more, more!” Because bubbles pop, they are a great reinforce that your child has to keep asking for (unlike a toy that you would have to take away to get them to repeated request more). After it pops, WAIT, and as you’re your child reaches for it or vocalizes, say “more” and even model the sign (on each hand, bring your fingertips and thumb together and then touch the tips the other finger’s hands repeatedly). If your child is saying “more” model two word phrase, such as “more bubble”. Expand your child’s vocabulary with words like: pop, wet, up/down” and turn taking (my/your turn). Read More

June: Five areas of your home to stimulate baby’s learning and development

New parents are often overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” that comes with having a baby. Without previous experience, it’s hard to know what you NEED and how to use all the contraptions you may get from baby showers. Here’s a quick look around your home and what you can use to stimulate your baby’s development.

Let’s start in the baby’s room. Sleep is important for a baby’s development (and crucial to parents’ sanity). Although a baby sleeps 17 hours a day, it may not feel that way to a new mom/dad. Establishing a good sleeping routine early impacts your child’s future sleeping and overall development. A baby’s sleep problems are not something they will “grow out of”. Good and healthy patterns need to be established early. Read More...

May: Top 10 Toys to Encourage Communication

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month and the beginning of garage sale season!  Speech/language pathologists at Pediatric Interactions want to share some ideas of how to use different toys to encourage your child to talk more. These are only a few suggestions and we have shared more ideas with families on our website and Facebook page this month.

1. Puppets

Kids enjoy when adults turn into a character and it’s fun for them to watch the mouth of the puppet move as it’s talking.  Puppets are great for tickles/eating the child.  Parents can build anticipation by moving up their child’s body with anticipation “I’m going to eat your…..” and getting the body part.  You can ask your child which body part or give them choices.  Just a word of caution…tickles often appear fun, but can be “too much” for some kids and may not be as pleasant as we think they should be. ~ Sarah Rosten, MA, CCC-SLP/L

2. Ball

Playing with a ball is great for a wide range of ages.  Young children not yet talking can practice those “precursors”, such as eye contact, gestures and the back/forth of turn taking.  Children will then start to verbalize to request and follow directions ( “put it in the hoop,” “throw it to me,”or “roll it to Dad.”) Kids love to roll/kick/throw balls back and forth to peers. With this, your child may join a team sport someday! ~ Jill White, MS, CCC-SLP/L


April: Dear Doctor Mom...

Dear Doctor Mom….

You have the most honored educational award, you are “your child’s expert”.  It is your job to advocate and ask questions for your child.  This can be intimidating when sitting in a doctor or other professional’s office with certificates on the wall (remember, you have certificates also…they are the drawings you proudly hang on your fridge).

We want to share a few tips with you for when you bring your child to the doctor next appointment.  Your pediatrician is there to help monitor your child’s health/growth, explain development, diagnose illnesses, explain treatment and refer you to specialists when needed. Read More...

March: Sensory Integration in Daily Routines

Written by our Spring 2016 Student Inter Leah Holsten

Sensory processing/integration refer to how we take information from the environment and our response to this input. We all try and adapt to this information, but sometimes it looks like a “behavior” or interferes with daily routines.

Some children may be “seeking’ input their body needs by crashing into things, running around or looking at things up close. Other children may be “avoiding” input that is likely to be overwhelming by covering their ears, not liking bright lights or refusing certain foods.

Parents, teachers and other caregivers can incorporate strategies to help children be more successful and happy during these activities. Read More.

February: Article on As They Grow: Get Rid of Sippy Cups

Get rid of sippy cups…are you kidding?

A sippy cup is usually the first cup parents use to transition their child off the bottle.  Don’t get me wrong, the thought of “no spills,” my child drinking early by herself, and the convenience of traveling with a cup is a dream come true.  That’s why sippy cups were invented and marketed to parents, not kids.

Why is the sippy cup so bad?  A spouted sippy cup is just a “hard bottle.”  By 12 months, a child should be drinking from a straw and open cup.  The straw can actually be introduced as early as 4-6 months, although some kids may not interested in drinking from it until 7-9 months

Read more.... Drinking from a straw or open cup promotes more mature swallow patterns, whereas an infant swallows (actually called“suckling”) by bringing their tongue forward to their gums. 

January: Article on As They Grow: New Group for Moms in Grayslake

Why didn’t anyone tell me these things about having a baby???

Wait, they did…..

At my baby showers, my friends and family wrote cute notes to me, my husband, and our expected child about all the changes that were about to happen. Things like “sleep when the baby does,” “laundry will never be finished,” “have date nights without the baby,” “time flies, enjoy every moment.” I was “superwoman” and thought with everything else I have done, I can do this baby-thing.

Read More... What I didn’t know was this little baby had kryptonite powers and broke me down!

December: Article on As They Grow: When Santa is Scary

The holidays are supposed to be magical times, not dreaded for parents or children. A visit to Santa can be very scary for some kids, not to mention the challenges of waiting in line and the other commotion that is happening at the event.  Sometimes you end up with pictures and experiences like this….

November: Article on As They Grow: National Prematurity Awareness Month

Mom was having a normal pregnancy and at a scheduled check-up had high levels of protein and was admitted to the hospital at 30 weeks (almost 7-months pregnant.) The family didn’t expect it, but then planned on staying in hospital for 4-6 more weeks when the baby could be born. But the baby had other plans and was born Christmas Eve at 31 weeks, weighing just over 3 pounds. Fortunately, she survived and continued to develop, as premature birth is a leading cause of death among babies (statistics obtained from March of Dimes and

Read more .... When babies are born premature, they basically should have been in the womb longer to develop and grow.

Premie Lights Combo.JPG

October: Article on As They Grow: Friends with Special Needs

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to broach the topic with your children. Children with disabilities may look different due to physical traits associated with their diagnosis. They may have special accommodations due to health conditions. Or they may have cognitive delays. As parents, how can you explain some of this to your child?

Read more on... teaching your child about new friends and classmates with special needs.

You can also click here to find links to the books mentioned in the article.

September: Article on As They Grow: Mealtime Battles

Your Kids Say:

“I’m not going to eat that.”
”I don’t like broccoli.”

…and you find yourself saying:

“It’s not yucky, it’s yummy.”
“It’s healthy.”
”Just taste it or try one bite.”
”Ok, I’ll make you a third dinner choice” (even though you didn’t eat anything you’ve already asked for.)

For many of us, mealtime is a battle, one often we as parents lose. Young children have very little control in their lives, and unfortunately, two aspects they can control is what goes in and what comes out (potty training is a whole separate battle). Feeding; however, doesn’t have to be a struggle.

In Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter, the author reminds us that you are the parent, you decide when to eat, what to serve, and where to serve it, and the child decides whether and how much to eat. Meals and snacks should be scheduled and we shouldn’t allow “grazing” or eating small amounts here and there throughout the day. Grazing doesn’t help a child learn the healthy feelings of hunger and fullness.

Read more on .... helping your child with mealtime.

August: Article on As They Grow: How a Pediatric Therapist Can Help Your Child

Parents find themselves asking:

My child is not starting school, but how do I know they are doing what they should be doing?

My child is 9 months, should they be crawling?

My child’s 1, how many words should they be saying?

My child’s 15 months, when it is past “normal” for them to start walking?

Is it ok that my 2 ½ year old still uses both hands to color with?”


Who has these answers?

Often we turn to our pediatrician as the expert. They are experts in children’s health. Their specialty is to answer questions regarding illnesses, vaccinations, and emergencies.

Pediatric therapists are experts in child development. We are trained in identifying the developmental milestones children should be meeting. We are skilled at looking at:

  • How a child is speaking and understanding
  • How a child moves around their environment
  • Your child’s fine motor for coloring, writing and feeding self
  • Your child’s memory and learning concepts
  • Your child’s independence

We have solutions and resources for families. We offer free screenings, which help families navigate the next step for their child. Parents may contact our office to schedule a short 15-minute appointment.

Read more on... What happens in therapy?

July: Article on As They Grow: Encourage Language in Young Children

We spend a lot of time on the go and outside in July, but parents can still encourage more words during these activities.  The University of Kansas developed a great resource:  Strategies for Promoting Communication and Language of Infants and Toddlers.  Specific examples of how to encourage language are provided.  Two that can be used this summer with your child:

Commenting and labeling
When your child is doing something, talk about their actions or the objects they are playing with.  Their brain is already focused on these and you are just providing the language to go with it.  If your child is playing with sand, you might say : “You’re pouring the sand in the bowl,”  or “Deandra has filled her bowl with sand,” or  “The sand feels cool on my fingers.”  When your child is moving, comment:  “You’re climbing so high,” or “You can run so fast.”

Read more on.... asking open ended questions.


Imagine laying by the pool reading a novel on the best seller list or better yet a harlequin romance that requires no brain power.  Now “SPLASH“…… that’s the sound of your child jumping into the pool and drenching you and your book.

Your reading list of those kinds of books may have been replaced by books you and your children enjoy.  Reading with your children is a great way to spend time together and lay a strong foundation for their educational success.  If you read just one book a night, you will have read about 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years and 1,095 books in three years.  Find a local program/library that reinforces “1000 books before kindergarten”.

Read more....should your child read from an iPad/tablet and how to encourage reading

May: AS THEY GROW: SPEECH AND LANGUAGE MILESTONES. Article on As They Grow: Conversations and Resources on Child Development

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Sarah Rosten, Clinical Director and Speech/Language Pathologist at Pediatric Interactions Inc., answers some common questions and concerns regarding Speech and Language Development.

How early do children use speech/language to communicate? What sort of milestones should I look for?

Between birth and 3 months old, your baby should be smiling and interacting with others using cooing sounds.  They begin to babble around 4 months of age, using sounds in the back of their throat and early consonants /p, b, m/.  Imitation of sounds, faces, and gestures is important throughout 7-12 months of age.  They are also starting to turn when  their name is called and look at/for objects named by others.  The sounds and combinations your child makes should continue to become more complex leading to the production of their first words.

Children start to form words around 12 months of age.

Read more on....milestones on later ages and what you can do at home