About Laura Berg

Posts by Laura Berg:

Berg Family Road Trip 2011 – Learn ASL on the road with us!

We are going on our first major family road trip this summer. I am excited to share our experiences with all of you and have you learn a few ASL signs along the way!

Before having children, my husband and I would go on long road trips every year. We loved the adventure of getting away and exploring new places every few days. We would often flip coins to decide which direction to go in next. We both have a huge sense of adventure and we want to instill this love of travel in our children. Our road trip this year will be different that past trips because we’ll have two little monkeys tagging along with us. We won’t be a couple only going from place to place. This takes more planning than simply hitting the road with no real plans for destinations. We had to make sure that the travel between places wasn’t going to be too long and that each destination had something appealing for the children. When planning our road trip for our children we also wanted to make sure we were enjoying each destination as well. I think we have found some wonderful family friendly stops that will be fun for both kiddos and adults! We will be taking three days to get down to Clearwater Beach, Florida and then will be spending the next few weeks making our way back up home. We will be visiting such fun places as St. Pete Beach, St. Augustine (historic), Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Lancaster, Rochester and more. I hope you enjoy traveling along with us as we explore different hotels, restaurants, beaches and other fun stops along the way.

In honor of us getting ready for our first Berg family road trip we would like to teach you two new signs: ‘vacation’ and ‘travel/trip’

Please leave us comments with your fun family travel stories, great recommendations and any fabulous food places we MUST visit. We are all about the down home cooking of unique restaurants so please share!

Thanks for joining us!

The Berg Family

Do It Daily

How to introduce signs into your daily routine?

One of the signs that all parents use is ‘milk’. Every time you offer some to your baby, be sure to ask, “Do you want some milk?” while you make the sign for milk. It is important to always say the word when you make the sign. Remember, it is a way for your baby to communicate to you and not for you to communicate with him/her. While your baby is drinking, you can gently take her hand and squeeze it to show her how it feels to make the sign and say, “That’s the sign for milk”. If you forget to make the sign one day, don’t worry; just pick it up the next time. However, the more consistent you are, the faster your baby will pick it up.

To help reinforce the signs for ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’, you can play a fun peek-a-boo game. Have dad hold the baby and have mom go just outside of view. Have daddy ask the baby, “Where’s mommy?” using a very excited voice while making the sign for ‘mommy’. Ask this a couple of times and then have mom pop into the room and say, “Here’s mommy!” while making the sign for ‘mommy’. You can also have dad move the baby’s hand to make the sign mommy. Then switch roles and have mom hold the baby and ask, “Where’s daddy?” while making the sign.

Post more suggestions in our comments section. Let’s share ideas!

By:
Laura Berg
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com

How To Begin Signing With Your Baby

I recommend that parents start with 2-5 signs. This is not for the baby’s sake, but rather, for the parents. Because signing doesn’t come naturally to most people, it can be challenging to maintain the practice, especially if it takes a while for your child to sign back to you. You can sign as many signs as you’d like, but make sure to always sign your 2-5 chosen signs every single time you say the word. For example, if one of your signs is ‘milk’, then every time you give your baby milk, sign it as well. This will help your baby realize that your actions mean something. The signs I recommend are the following:

  • Milk
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • More
  • Eat/food
  • Finished
  • Help
  • Hurt
  • Any food signs.

Pick a few of these signs and start signing!

For easy reference feel free to visit our free online dictionary to look up signs to use with your baby:
www.babysigningdictionary.com

Written By:
Laura Berg
www.mysmarthands.com

Second Child Syndrome

I am having serious mommy guilt lately! I look at my son and I realize I am inflicting the second child syndrome on him and I fully realize that I (and my husband) are the cause of this. What is this ‘second child syndrome’ I talk about?! It’s the empty photo album, half written baby journal, video lacking syndrome… this is a problem that I’d say 90% (if not more) of second children face. My husband and I are definitely guilty of this. Two things happened recently that really brought this issue to light. The first one was when my daughter found her baby book and then wanted to see her brothers’. She had a beautiful, full photo album. My son, well… he had photos on my computer *blush*. I can’t believe that I had to sit down and turn on my computer just to pull up some pictures. That is wrong! The second episode that happened that slapped me in the face was a few emails I received from people who had seen my daughter grow up on You Tube asking about my son’s signing progress. Then I realized that I had taken so many videos of my daughter and her signing skills but not many of my son. He is a great little signer and I should have the camera on him as much as I did my first child. Life is just busy. It’s not that we don’t love our second child as much or are as equally fascinated with this little kiddo… no. That’s not the issue. The issue is time! Balancing family life is hard. We all do it but we also all know our second child doesn’t have as many pictures as our first.

This post is for my second child. My beautiful baby boy who is just as good a little signer as my daughter was at his age. Here is my little munchkin signing!
If you have any signing questions don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to answer your questions!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VWsntNo80k&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com

The MOM TRIBE

For Heather

The one major thing I’ve felt since becoming a mom is that we MOMS are a tight knit group of people. Growing up sometimes women can be unkind to one another, I’m not sure why this is and it’s sad. But I found when you become a mom you then join this amazingly supportive group like you are part of a large tribe of people who understand you. At PTPA I’ve found amazing friendships both through the bloggers and the readers of our blogs. People who take the time to read what we have to say and post comments to share their thoughts is wonderful.

Recently a member of my MOM TRIBE lost her beautiful little boy, Zack. My heart breaks for her both as a friend and as a mom. I feel like I can’t do enough for her at this time of need. Yesterday I went to the celebration of Zack’s life. Sitting there listening to all of the people talk about Zackie was very heart warming. Heather and her family were clearly blessed to have such an amazing little boy be part of their lives for the three and a half short years. And Zack was a lucky little boy to be part of a family who clearly loves him so much.

When I lost my mother my daughter had a very hard time understanding why grandma wasn’t here with us anymore. It was difficult explaining to a three year old what death is and what it means. We thought that she understood what it was until one day about six months later she said to us, “I’m done with grandma being dead, when is she coming back already!” She clearly didn’t get it. My heart broke for her all over again. For kids it can be hard to understand what it really means and as parents it’s hard to explain it in terms that they understand. During this difficult time in our family I found a wonderful story that helped my daughter to understand. I wanted to share it will all of you readers and to you, Heather, in the hopes that this can bring some comfort to your boys during this hard time.

Waterbugs and Dragonflies
by Doris Stickney

Waterbugs and Dragonflies : Explaining Death to Young Children”
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went….Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea”. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”“We promise”, they said solemnly.One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…….

Please take a moment to read Heather’s blog here: http://tjzmommy.blogspot.com/

Thank you for reading and taking the time to be a part of my MOM TRIBE

Much love and warmth,
Laura

Learn Your ASL ABCs!

My daughter, Fireese, loved learning the ASL ABCs at a very early age. She could identify the sign language letters before she could the written ones. This made it much easier for her to learn to identify the written ones because I could prompt her by showing her the ASL letter. I found that this was a great (quiet) game to play with her when we were at restaurants and other places where I needed to keep her attention. We would first play the letter guessing game. I would hold up a letter and she would guess what it was and then she would and I would guess. When she got a bit older we would then put three letters together and she would sound them out to spell a word. The great part about this game is you always have it with you because all you need is your hands to play.

Try teaching your child the ASL ABCs. You can learn along with Fireese and me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTZ4GpSTLkM&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’

Sign me some “EAT”

It’s funny how you sometimes come across things in life that you are so excited to discover exist. You would have no idea to necessarily search for it because you never thought such a great idea would exist. I always loved this idea: “There are things you know you don’t know”… I know that I don’t know all of the elements on the periodic table but I know they exist. Then “There are things you don’t know that you don’t know” (hehe, did you have to read that sentence twice?)

I recently came across this amazing Bib that has been awarded the PTPA seal of approval. I was not surprised to see that at all because it is such an ingenious invention! If you have a baby then you MUST check out Bibagogo. This bib comes with a hidden pocket with a spoon and two facecloths. How convenient is that?!? I was never one to carry a diaper bag. The less I had to carry around the happier I was.

This week’s ‘sign of the week’ is EAT in honor of this amazing new product I’m excited to have discovered.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4LtjQ3gUO0&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’

3 Million and Counting!

When my daughter was twelve months she was a signing machine. She knew over 30 signs and was picking more and more up everyday. We often ran into people who were always amazed to see this little baby signing. Most of them had heard of baby signing but few had actually seen it in real life. After running into countless people who had the same reaction I decided to post a video of my daughter on You Tube. I wanted to show other people what babies are capable of when given the right tools. I never imagined what a positive effect this video would have on so many people. I have had parents, grandparents, speech pathologists, doctors, teachers and professors email me about baby signing. This video is shown in many child development classes across North America. I have had students email me telling me they’ve seen this video in their classes. I love the fact that You Tube exists and that I could share my child’s signing development with so many. And today this video has hit 3 million views! I wanted to share this with you all, the readers of the PTPA blog as you are the best and most support. When my daughter was twelve months she was a signing machine. She knew over 30 signs and was picking more and more up everyday. We often ran into people who were always amazed to see this little baby signing. Most of them had heard of baby signing but few had actually seen it in real life. After running into countless people who had the same reaction I decided to post a video of my daughter on You Tube. I wanted to show other people what babies are capable of when given the right tools. I never imagined what a positive effect this video would have on so many people. I have had parents, grandparents, speech pathologists, doctors, teachers and professors email me about baby signing. This video is shown in many child development classes across North America. I have had students email me telling me they’ve seen this video in their classes. I love the fact that You Tube exists and that I could share my child’s signing development with so many. And today this video has hit 3 million views! I wanted to share this with you all, the readers of the PTPA blog as you are the best and most supportive readers and I know you will share in my excitement of this milestone! I can’t wait to post again when it’s reached 4 million!

The American Pediatric Society just came out with a formal stance that they support the use of baby signing. It is not a fad, it is here to stay and it is a very valid form of communication that is very easy for parents to use! If you can teach your child to wave bye-bye then you can teach them how to sign!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gSZfW4gVhI&w=480&h=390] Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com
@MySmartHands on Twitter

Get Up And DANCE!!

If your kids are anything like mine then they love to dance. I absolutely love the way toddlers dance! My son, now 17 months, loves to boogie to the music, he is always asking for the CD player to be turned on so he and his sister can dance. We taught him the sign ‘dance’ as soon as he started showing interest. He will now always make the sign whenever he wants us to turn on the music. The cutest thing happened with my son at a friends house. We were in her living room and my son kept pointing at her cabinet and wanting me to get something for him. I kept grabbing him books and I’d get a firm ‘NO’ each time. I then said to him, show me the sign for what you want, and he signed ‘dance’. I looked harder at the cabinet and saw behind tinted glass my friend’s CD player! I didn’t see it at first because the glass is a little dark. I’m surprised my son was able to see it. Thankfully we taught him the sign for what he loves to do so he could easily tell us what he wanted!

This is why I’ve picked the sign DANCE to be this week’s ‘sign of the week’

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL7rWUFG_4c&w=480&h=385]

So why don’t you go throw on some music and boogie with your baby. As you are dancing be sure to make the sign for ‘dance’ and say the word as you are doing it.

Do you have any fun signing stories that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comment section! I’m looking forward to reading them.

If you are in Canada and are a fan of CBCs Dragon’s Den then be sure to tune in this Wednesday, Jan. 19th to see me pitch My Smart Hands to the Dragons!

Laura Berg
Founder, My Smart Hands
www.mysmarthands.com
@MySmartHands on Twitter