Learning to talk is an important developmental milestone in your child’s life. As parents, we are often anxious for our children to start talking. We try to encourage them to talk by asking questions such as “What are you doing”? or “What colour is the crayon”? Some parents will try to command their children to talk with instructions such as “say dog” or “say ball”.
What is the problem with this strategy?
Answering questions or following commands is not very tempting for children. A child who is just learning to talk may also become upset if they are bombarded with questions. They may learn to imitate language and say “dog” but they won’t learn the value of communication and how to maintain social interactions. Most importantly, this strategy teaches our kids to be the “responders” in a conversation.
How do we teach our children to communicate effectively?
Communication temptations teach children to be “initiators” of the communication process. These strategies work because they allow children to think and react to their environment.
If a child is not speaking yet, these strategies will help facilitate communication skills. They are also great for building vocabulary, teaching grammar, and building longer sentences.
How To Use Communication Temptations:
Here are some easy communication temptation strategies you can use with your children:
Start and Wait
- Give your child a colouring book but no crayons and wait
- Blow bubbles for your child once, then close the lid and wait
- Show your child a desired food that is out of reach and wait
The Power of Silliness
- Pretend you can’t find something that your child can clearly see.
- Put your socks on your hands or your hat on your feet.
- Give your child a bowl of food but “forget” to give them a spoon to eat with.
Bit By Bit
- Give your child a little piece of cookie. Let him/her ask for “more”.
- Build a tower with blocks and be the “keeper” of the blocks. Give your child one block at a time to increase requesting opportunities.
In the early stages of communication, don’t expect perfection. If your child says “m” for “more”, praise them for trying, imitate the word, and reward them! The most important thing is for children to understand the importance of communication and to enjoy the process.