Your Child's 40th, 41st, & 42nd Months
By Pam Gelman
When listening to your child speak you may have noticed a few stumbles over syllables or long pauses between words. This is very common, especially for two to four year olds. During these occasionally verbal stumbles, your child is unaware of what he is doing and probably forming the word he wants to say in his mind.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in twenty children between these ages stutter—with a higher incidence in boys than girls. No one knows what causes stuttering, but fatigue, stress, illness, or being a "fast talker" are contributors.
Ignoring the stuttering is one of the best interventions. Try to resist filling in his blanks with words or correcting him when he stutters. Actively listen (meaning respond to what he says—not the stuttering). And slow down the speed of your own speech to help set a slow and easy pace for back and forth conversation.
If you notice a pattern of stuttering over a period of time (say for a few months) or if you have any concerns, check with your child's pediatrician who can make a referral to a speech therapist if necessary. We are betting that he'll grow out of it, but a doctor can help put anxious minds at ease.
Preparing Sibs for a Baby
When to tell your child that another baby is on board is up to the individual family. If you are keeping the news private, then you can wait awhile. If your child is older than three and you are telling friends and family, you may want to tell him sooner than later. Obviously, you want to be the one to let him know.
Younger children will have a harder time understanding and probably just won't grasp the situation until baby actually arrives. If your child is younger than three, remember that he doesn't yet know how to share. He is not going to appreciate having to share you or his possessions with anyone—especially to a baby that is center stage.
Some tips for talking about a new sibling:
- When talking to your child, be honest and keep it simple. Describe what he'll be seeing and hearing (hint: crying).
- Read picture books about children becoming big brothers or sisters.
- Buy your child a doll—one that he can hold, change a diaper, bathe and even nurse along side you. Remember, young children learn through their play. This doll may take a beating, but allowing your child to act out feelings about becoming an older sib through doll play is very healthy (and much safer than on baby).
- Check out if there are any sibling preparation classes at your local hospital.
- Buy small gifts to pass out to the sib when baby presents start arriving. Tuck one away in the bassinet as if it is "from" the baby.
- After baby arrives, make time for big brother or sister to be alone with each parent—if you can swing it—everyday. Point it out as special "mommy" or "daddy" time.
- Put off any big changes, such as toilet learning, changing caregivers or moving to a new home until after baby arrives. If you are planning on moving him to a bigger bed, try to do so well before baby's arrival or well after.
- Pull out pictures of the sib when he was a baby for all to admire.